When 90% of aesthetic consumers say their facelift was worth it and 87% feel the same way about liposuction, it can be tempting to assume that just about everybody who undergoes the procedures loves their results.
Most, in fact, do but based on RealSelf’s most recent Buzz Index — which measures the volume of the conversations around various aesthetic procedures — a vocal minority clearly feels otherwise. With both post-lipo and post-facelift revisions tying for the top spot with a Buzz Index of 300, there’s no escaping the fact that some patients are a) unhappy with their results and b) hungry for information on what they can do about it.
(The Buzz Index is a weekly analysis that compares the number of questions, comments and new reviews posted on RealSelf over the last 28 days relative to the last three months. With 100 representing a normal amount of discussion, higher numbers demonstrate increased interest and more buzz.)
The good news is that individual patients’ concerns, questions and online reviews provide insights that doctors can use to shape their overall messaging, interact more effectively with today’s online healthseeker and be better prepared for the issues they’re likely to face during in-person consultations. Among them:
Some patients don’t account for the related effects of their original procedure
Patients who turn to lipo in the hopes of achieving a tighter tummy may fail to realize that the procedure often leaves loose, excessive skin behind. One such patient, dollface84, no doubt speaks for other potential revision patients — patients who are more likely to go into their procedures with appropriate expectations thanks to the answers doctors provide online.
Some patients may be too embarrassed to go back to their original doctor
Dealing with fibrosis six months post-lipo, pperez87 wrote, “I’m too ashamed and embarrassed to go back to my surgeon. I want another lipo to fix me up. Is it safe? Would it work?? Is this normal? I feel so depressed.” For better or worse, such issues are real and will likely come up in subsequent consults. As several doctors noted in response, a hasty revision is no substitute for sufficient time and honest communication.
Some patients fail to take a holistic view of their aesthetic interests
It’s hardly surprising that many patients hope to get by with as little surgery as possible but they may not realize that that’s not always the best approach. In this facelift video, Ronald V. DeMars, MD, does an excellent job of explaining the risks that can result from taking a piecemeal rather than holistic approach.
Doctors who provide online resources help patients make informed decisions
Describing her facelift/necklift revision, Marie Kazel wrote, “I have to commend Dr. Evan Ransom for explaining everything in detail and reassuring he could help me with my expectations of a revised face and neck lift… I found wonderful reviews on his website and also online. I am so glad I did my homework to be reassured I picked the right doctor.”
When it comes to revisions, handle with care
As the examples above demonstrate, patients seeking revisions are already “scarred” by their aesthetic experiences — and it doesn’t really matter whether mistakes were made in the OR or they were mistaken in their assumptions of what their outcome would be. Perhaps even more so than with most procedures, connecting with such patients calls for both patient education and provider expertise. When you combine effective marketing with excellent surgical skills, the result is patients with appropriate expectations and better outcomes.