Plastic Surgery 101

Asking questions before surgery can lead to happier results


Special to The Miami Herald

Q. I have a very simple question: Do you think I will be happy with my plastic surgery?

A: While your question sounds simple, it’s probably one of the most complicated questions I get. I have sleepless nights thinking of that answer every time I see a new patient who wants plastic surgery. So the way I approach this question is to ask myself, “What can make this patient not be happy with their plastic surgery?’’

Any Facial plastic or Plastic surgeon will tell you, one unhappy patient drowns out the accolades from 100 happy patients, so the incentive to have happy patients is high.

Major factors can affect a patient’s happiness, including a patient’s expectations, life events, expectations of friends and family and quite frankly, whether the patient is a positive person or not. To be a successful surgeon you have to pick patients with whom you can have success. Some patients will be ecstatic with their results that another patient will consider a total failure.

The “art” of medicine is found in the experience and ability of the surgeon to conduct a thorough interview of the potential patient (and you thought you were the one who was interviewing the doctor!) Time spent upfront discussing the patient’s wishes and motivation for surgery is time well spent.

Factors that should be considered when potentially picking a patient to have surgery include where the patient is in his or her life. Are they involved in a good relationship (a major factor in having a happy patient)? Are they getting divorced, changing partners and or happy to be alone at last?

Timing for surgery is equally as important. I do not believe a patient should have major surgery during a major change in their lives. I like to put patient in a plastic surgery “time out” so they can make a more rational decision. The “time out” includes non-invasive procedures that will enhance their look and make them feel better such as Dysport, Botox, Restylane and Juvederm.

One factor that sometimes cannot easily be determined is the patient’s jealous friends. Often I will have patients who are very happy with their surgery, only to come in at six months because of dissatisfaction. My first question usually is, “Which one of your friends said that to you?” They usually laugh and realize what had happened. (If there were a problem, I would address it.)

You should be happy with your surgery if you do the following: Do your homework and pick a surgeon who does a lot of the procedures you are seeking. Talk with the surgeon and ask as many questions as you need. Ask to see pictures of the procedure you are about to have. Discuss the risks and benefits of your procedure. And make sure you like your doctor before you have surgery as your relationship can only get worse if you are not happy with your results.

Good luck.

Read more Dr. Carlos Wolf stories from the Miami Herald

  • Plastic Surgery 101

    Is a 23-year-old too young for fillers?

    Q. I want to know if I'm too young to use any of the non-invasive injectable products? I am 23 and I love to work out. My body looks great but my face is starting to sag and I look like I’ve lost too much weight. What do you suggest?

  • Plastic Surgery 101

    What to do before a wedding to give you that glow

    Q: My daughter is getting married in six months. Her future mother-in-law is absolutely beautiful and I want to make sure that I look good for her wedding. What are my options, both surgical and nonsurgical?

  • Plastic Surgery 101

    Understanding your options with breast reconstructive surgery

    Q. I recently had a mastectomy and I went to my doctor for checkup. He said everything is fine and that to have a reconstruction procedure, I would need a tissue expander. Can you tell me what a tissue expander is and what I can expect?

Miami Herald

Join the

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category