Choosing Plastic Surgery for the Right Reasons


To operate or not to operate? That is the question. The truth is, my job is part-surgeon and part therapist. When I meet a new patient, the first thing I want to know is whether they’re considering a procedure or surgery for the right reasons. I have three common concerns:

1. Is a patient doing it for him/herself, or someone else?
If a woman says she’s doing something for her boyfriend, for example, that’s a big red flag. A patient needs to feel good about why they’re taking any kind of risk for cosmetic reasons. Doing something to make someone else happy is a bad reason for plastic surgery.

2. Are the expectations of a patient in alignment with reality?
Some patients thrive on attention and use plastic surgery as a vehicle to get it. An example would be a very small-framed woman who wants breasts so large they would simply overwhelm her body. I’ve also had very young women come into my office and think they need a facelift because they see some wrinkles. The procedure should match the intended results. Wrinkles can be handled with fillers most of the time.

3. It’s not like getting your hair done!
Plastic surgery is more popular and safer than ever. People are seeing celebrities who look great, and they want that too. But people tend to pooh-pooh complications. I like to know how many procedures the patient has already had, and are they ever going to be satisfied with the results? For example, we recently had a guest on The Doctors who had had more than 200 procedures and between 20-25 surgeries. That kind of thing borders on an addiction in my mind, and truthfully, any one of those procedures runs the patient the risk for developing infection.

The bottom line is that it’s our job as plastic surgeons to know when to say to a patient, “No,” or, “That’s enough.” The goal of great cosmetics is to look refreshed and better for your age — not to look like a different person.

-- Dr. Andrew Ordon