{Aired 05.24.14}

If you have already had a plastic surgery procedure and you are not happy with your results – what steps should you take?  Some procedures can be judged shortly after surgery – but most require a healing process to take place before you actually can see the final results.  This show will highlight key elements of:

  • a good patient – doctor relationship
  • your role in the plan of treatment
  • emotional recovery needed following plastic surgery
  • if you really have  had a bad experience or an unsatisfactory result with surgery
  • what are the  steps you can take now to repair the damage
  • being unhappy with an outcome is not necessarily a “botched” surgery 

Patient Satisfaction Rate

Depending on what stats you consider the patient satisfaction rate for most cosmetic surgery is relatively high – I’ve seen stats at 87%.  For the emotionally stable individual who does surgery for all the “right” reasons. There are good candidates for plastic surgery and there are bad candidates.   Doctors have to be careful with patients who go into surgery thinking the procedure would provide benefits that in reality, it cannot.

Everyone has a picture in their minds eye of what they expect but patients can sometimes get into their heads about surgery  and conjure up an unrealistic image that is simply not achievable.    Sometimes the media promotes this idealistic thinking. Surgery cannot achieve the impossible – if you are a 60 year old woman, for example, can you really expect to look like you are 25 by having a face lift?

It’s easy to blur the lines between what you want and what you expect – between realistic expectations and unrealistic. Sometimes people make the choice for the wrong reasons. Before investing your time, money, health, and looks in plastic surgery, honestly assess your reasons for doing it.

  1. Is this procedure something you want for yourself, or are you doing it to make someone else happy?
  2. Do you think you’ll be able to adjust to your new look – emotionally

  3. What are your expectations, and are they realistic given your current situation?  

  4. Does your plastic surgeon concur with your expectations?

Helpful Tools – Computer Imaging

The objective of computer imaging is to project possible surgical outcomes.  Surgeons must be conservative or it could look like you are selling the impossible. If misused, surgeons face possible claims of implied contract, failure to instruct, and malpractice. While a computer-generated image is not perfectly correct, it will give a better idea what the look will be when the surgery is completed.


Motives for Plastic Surgery

Ideal Reasons for Plastic Surgery

  • I’m doing this for myself (not for some one else)
  • I don’t look as young as I feel
  • My friends tell me I look tired or angry all the time, but I’m not
  • I’m not happy with the way I look and I’m ready for some improvement

Bad Reasons for Plastic Surgery


  • My friends are all having their breasts done
  • My husband/wife/significant other is leaving me, and I’m hoping this will make them stay
  • Surgery (a face lift) will make all the difference in my life
  • If only my nose was a tiny bit smaller,  I’d be perfect!
  • It’s realistic to believe that cosmetic surgery will change your life

Other unrealistic expectations are that there are no risks to the surgery or that recovery will not involve discomfort. Being realistic means understanding that cosmetic surgery can improve, not perfect, your looks. Good candidates for surgery have accepted that concept and are likely to be happy with their results.

 Some women will undergo a surgery over and over again for just the right look (there is always someone willing to operate on you – no shortage of finding this kind of physician whose willing to prey on your vulnerability)  –  too much surgery can also create a bad outcome.


When you’re expecting physical improvement, it can be hard to look at a swollen face covered in bandages. Once the bandages come off, you may not like what you see right away. It can take weeks — or even months — for the swelling to subside and the wounds to heal enough for you to see the real results. Even if the surgery was technically a success, the end results may not be what you had expected.

Time Limitations

Doctors are extremely busy and have limited time with patients today – so it is virtually impossible for them to educate you about everything you need to know in a 15 minute consult.

The key to having a good result starts with you – an educated consumer.   Sometimes intimidation plays a role – not wanting to say you don’t understand what is being said. always visit the surgeon after you have researched the procedure and the terminology associated with the procedure to minimize mis-communication. Use our “What to Ask a Surgeon” FAQ page. 

Avoiding Botched Breast Augmentation 

The #1 procedure is Breast Augmentation.  What would cause you to be unhappy?

  • Size is the # l reason – either the patient will feel like they are too big or too small.

Size is a key factor – This starts in the consultation  – patients really need to a way to communicate this to their doctors.  In my experience if you don’t make this crystal clear and there is an agreement between you and the doctor, you will not be happy.

  • After the bandages are removed expect swelling.

When the bandages are first removed, that is not your final result – the implant may be higher than you expected – which is often the case when the implant is placed behind the muscle.  You will need to give things time to settle. Swelling may be distorting the final look;  patience is the key.

If you however, have a surgery where the implant appears to not completely fill the pocket and the crease falls below the implant – you may have a what is known as double bubble deformity.  This is not going to necessarily self correct.  This needs attention.  We’ve had a couple of guests on previous shows that said they knew almost immediately that at least one of their breasts felt hard to touch immediately – this is called capsular contracture and that needs attention.  While it is not life threatening it does need proper medical attention.

Other breast implant complications can include:

  • Seroma  – leakage of clear fluid from surgical incision, redness, pain  or swelling
  • Hematoma -collection of blood under the tissue – swelling redness fever may or may not be present

Everyone who gets cosmetic surgery hopes for the perfect result. That has to be defined for each person –  complications can occur, and you should think about how to handle them before having the procedure done.

Follow These Six Steps if Something Goes Wrong

1. Talk with your surgeon. Be honest and open – your surgeon will likely respond in kind. Make sure you have time to calmly express your feelings and expect the same from your surgeon. Try to understand what happened and, if possible, why it happened.

2.  Give yourself time to think. Try not to be reactive; give yourself time to be reflective and objective.  Postoperative time – after surgery is always heightened and stressful. Try not to let emotions control your thinking.  Fear, anxiety and feelings of uncertainty will cause more harm than good.  Try to stay calm and objective & exercise patience. Something that happens commonly is Post-Plastic Surgery Depression. Some patients experience sadness, inability to sleep – uncomfortable, appetite loss, and an inability to focus/concentrate after their surgery. Factors that contribute:

  • Anesthesia and pain medications
  • Side effects of the surgery
  • An inability to get back to normal life and activities
  • Needing to depend on others for help
  • A lack of support from family or friends after surgery
  • Disappointment over the surgery outcome – usually temporary

Even after a successful surgery, you may feel tired and uncomfortable during the healing process. Both the anesthesia you were given during the procedure, and the medicines you take afterward to control pain can cause some of the effects of depression — including fatigue, disorientation, and difficulty concentrating.

3. Consider a second cosmetic procedure. If the healing process has completed and you’re still not satisfied, talk with your surgeon about a second procedure. You should discuss in detail the risks, the worse-case scenario, the costs, and the plan of action if the revision fails. Most surgeons will not charge a fee for revision surgery, but you may be charged facility and anesthesia fees.

4. Consider finding a new surgeon.  When trust and communication are lost your relationship with the surgeon is broken. Make the effort to rebuild the relationship. But if this is not possible, it’s time to find a new surgeon. Follow all the normal guidelines recommended in choosing a good board certified plastic  surgeon. 

5. Contact the state medical board. If you feel your surgeon did something inappropriate, you should file a complaint with the state medical board. If there is evidence of gross negligence causing harm, the board may take action against the surgeon.

6. Consider legal action. A lawsuit should be the last resort and only used when you can no longer communicate with your surgeon, making resolution impossible. It’s not a decision you want to make based on emotion.

For more advice on how to deal with a “botched” surgery, contact joan@dragonflystrategy.com.