It takes time to find the right fit in any doctor-patient relationship. The same is true in plastic surgery. But many patients visit with only one plastic surgeon before making significant decisions about their bodies. Instead of jumping in quickly with both feet, consider taking the time to talk to at least one other experienced plastic surgeon for a second opinion. Below, we explore why seeking second or even third opinions before undergoing elective cosmetic surgery is vital.
You Only Have One Body
We have all seen television shows about botched plastic surgery procedures. In those episodes, patients openly discuss the physical and psychological issues experienced after their surgical experience. While you will likely not face being "botched," your personal appearance goals may not align with your plastic surgeon's aesthetic sense, knowledge, or technical abilities. This is why it is important to seek a second opinion. You only have one body and one face. Who you choose to do your surgery is crucial.
Qualifications and Innovations Are Critical
Another reason for seeking a second opinion is to feel secure in your plastic surgeon's qualifications and innovations. People often settle for "they seem nice" or “they can get me in sooner.” However, the bar for elective cosmetic surgery should be much higher. "Nice" is never a substitute for expertise and accomplishment. If you can get in immediately to see a plastic surgeon, and all the others are backed up for a couple months, ask yourself why this is so. If you have not sought a second opinion, you have no one with whom to compare surgical outcomes, technical skills, experience, and awareness of the latest innovations.
Some plastic surgeons have procedures in which they specialize. A few even innovate within their field and develop methods other plastic surgeons use worldwide. For example, Dr. Zenn at Zenn Plastic Surgery created the Zenn Delay for breast reconstruction. This method changed the field of breast reconstruction related to cancer. It provides breast cancer patients with beautiful final cosmetic results just two weeks after mastectomy. Indeed, after 25 years in plastic surgery, Dr. Zenn's techniques have evolved and become his own, and his results are proof.
Optimal Results Are What You Want
Obviously, you want the best possible results from your procedure. But these results depend on your plastic surgeon's skill and techniques. Trust in your surgeon greatly influences how you feel about your decision to proceed with surgery. You can make a more informed decision about your choice of plastic surgeon if you get a second opinion.
Getting a Second Opinion – FAQs
Patients typically have questions about asking for a second opinion before plastic surgery. Some of those frequently asked questions include:
Do I always need to get a second opinion before plastic surgery?
Only you, the patient, can decide whether you need a second opinion before having plastic surgery. The cost of a second consultation in money and time is small compared to the cost of surgery and the emotional cost of choosing the wrong physician. Amazingly, some people will spend more time researching and comparing new refrigerators than they will their plastic surgeons!
When seeking elective procedures, you are taking advantage of your right to be a consumer of those services. As a consumer, you also have the right to find the best fit. And sometimes that means keep looking until you find that person.
How can I be sure I am making the right decision about having the procedure?
Whether you seek a second opinion or not, you should carefully consider your decision to have plastic surgery. Some good questions to ask yourself to aid in decision-making include:
- Is there another procedure that could better suit my goals?
- How will this decision for plastic surgery impact my life?
- Do I trust my plastic surgeon to help me achieve my appearance goals?
- What concerns me about the procedure?
- How do I feel when interacting with my doctor?
- What keeps me from seeking another plastic surgeon's opinion?
- What are my doubts about this surgery?
When should I schedule a visit with another plastic surgeon for his or her opinion?
You should schedule the visit with another surgeon for their opinion as early as possible in your decision-making process. Plastic surgery is not something you should rush. It would be best to have plenty of time to consider your decision after collecting the appropriate information and viewpoints.
How do I ask my surgeon for another licensed professional's opinion?
Asking for another opinion should not worry you. Simply be direct. When talking to your second plastic surgeon's office, approach as you did your first. Share your concerns and see what they say. If there are differences in the surgical plan from the first, tell them you have been on another consultation that resulted in a different proposed surgical plan and have them explain why theirs is the best. To make the process less stressful on yourself, remember that surgeons are accustomed to patients doing their own research and seeking more information in this manner. It is standard medical practice. Any surgeon upset that you saw another provider should be a "red flag" to you, and you should definitely consider another opinion.
What do I do after receiving the second opinion?
When you have two medical opinions, you now have a choice about your surgery. Even if the surgical plans are the same, the surgeons are not. Who would you trust more? Comparing post-op photos of people who looked like you can go a long way to make you confident that you have found the right person. If the opinions differ, consider what is different about them. Each surgeon may tell you what they can do within their technical abilities and experience -- but the surgical outcome often comes down to the surgeon's depth of experience and surgical training. When a surgeon disagrees with a plan or speaks poorly of a procedure they do not perform, remember that usually just means they have limited experience in that procedure.
Can I get a third opinion?
Absolutely. As you go through each new consultation, you learn more about your procedure and will likely naturally figure out which surgeon is the best best fit for you. If you feel more confused after your second opinion, a third opinion is a great way to confirm your choice of procedure is the right one.
You Are in Charge of Your Decision to Have Plastic Surgery
Regardless of the type of cosmetic procedure you seek, you make your own decision. You should always get all the information you need and trust your gut instincts about the person who will be performing your surgery. You should never feel pressured; pressuring patients is another "red flag." Board-certified plastic surgeons, on the whole, are not high-pressure salespeople. They genuinely seek to help their patients feel more confident in their own skin. If you feel pressured to decide then and there to have a procedure, you are not in the right office.
We hope you will schedule your first, second, or even third consultation with Dr. Zenn at Zenn Plastic Surgery in Raleigh, North Carolina. Dr. Zenn's experience and results speak for themselves, and his zen-like bedside manner is incredibly calming and comforting. We work hard to help all of our patients know they are in the best possible hands before, during, and after surgery. Please browse our website and check out our before-and-after patient photos to learn more about our practice and the procedures we perform. Then call us at 919.480.3885 for scheduling.