Finding a good Doctor is never easy, even for someone who has some insider knowledge, It is not straightforward and like everything involves a little research about their credentials, ideally getting a recommendation, getting to know the doctor, ensuring his thought process matches yours and then ultimately getting confidence in them.
Be sure that the surgeon was a superspecialist in that particular field - no surgeon, no matter how talented, can be good at everything and the more specialized they are, the more cases they do in that field of expertise. We all get better with experience - and that is the key. Rhinoplasty surgery, as an example, is widely thought to be the most difficult of all cosmetic procedures and a good surgeon should be doing this surgery regularly and experienced with a wide variation of techniques. Also, someone who performs revision surgery is going to have plentiful experience in primary cases too. Another good guide is that surgeons academic profile. Whilst being academically brilliant does not ensure clinical excellence, as a general rule in cosmetic specialties in particular, giving lectures involves showing patient cases. At most International meetings, pre and post operative photographs are shown and these form the basis upon which the surgeon is invited to speak at meetings. You will appreciate that the audience of other surgeons is very discerning so only those presenting excellence are invited. Finally, it is important you like your Doctor - at the end of the day you are putting your trust with them, so you need to be able to communicate and engage with them and ensure they listen to your concerns and wishes.
Sadly, a lot of patients don't do enough research and just rely on adverts or fancy websites. This unfortunately, leads to doctors or clinics that rely on good marketing rather than good clinical practice. Of course, getting recommendations from others helps but be discerning, particularly with online reviews etc - these can be planted. There are actually companies that do this and unscrupulous as it is, some people use them. It can be a bewildering process so my advice is to spend as much time as possible researching. It amazes us that people spend more time looking at what what washing machine they want to buy!
We think the most important thing in considering having cosmetic surgery is to spend a lot of time thinking about it. By all means, do the research and go through all the things we have talked about regarding finding the correct specialist for you but be sure that you are not pushed into surgery and give yourself time to reflect on any advice you are given. At Symmetry Clinic, we always insist on seeing patients a minimum of 2 times, often more to ensure our patients are fully aware of the pros and cons, together with potential risks of the procedure and are given sufficient time and information to make an informed decision. We only ever charge once so patients feel able to come back as many times as they need to to ensure they get all the information they need but also for both them to feel comfortable with their surgeon (and vice versa!).
There is no doubt that the more specialised someone is, the better they become at doing that sort of procedure. We only deal with faces! Often we recommend a combination of treatments, both surgical and non surgical and the advantage of seeing someone who specilaises in this area is that we can give you all the options. With regards to the non surgical options, there is a bewildering number of people offering these treatments, including nurses, GPs, dentists and potentially even some beauticians. Indeed, the UK is one of the most unregulated nations when it comes to these particular treatments, which have seen an explosive growth in popularity in the past few years. It can be very difficult to choose the right person but again it is important to try and pick someone with very specialised knowledge and training in this area who is able to offer an unbiased opinion about the best option, be that surgery or using other non surgical means. Sadly, without this, patients are often pushed into certain treatments when others may be more appropriate.
We perform photography and have a very fancy state of the art 3D digital imaging system on which we can perform a virtual operation to show patients what they might look like. This helps with the consultation and explanation of the operation and what might be achieved but of course cannot guarantee what the post op result would be. Ultimately using the software in this way, it ensures what the patient wants reflects what we think is achievable and we make sure what we show patients is realistic. This is pixel manipulation though and real life tissue maniplulation clearly does not work in this way, not least because the healing process and internal scar formation can change a post op result, so these things have to be taken in the context of these. Maybe in years to come, it might be as simple as pressing a button to ask a robot to do exactly as what is shown on the manipulated imaging. We’d like to think that that wont happen in our lifetime and until then our surgical skills will still be the most important thing!
This will, of course, depend on the procedure and its complexity. For most nose procedures, for example, a rough guideline of two weeks off work is realistic to allow bruising and swelling to settle. Some patients prefer to take a little more time so that they look as normal as possible before they return, especially if they are not keen on others knowing they have had surgery or are in the public eye. Women (and even some of our male patients!) can normally hide things with make up if required. We have had patients return sooner due to work commitments but we advise a minimum of one week’s convalescence.
Non-surgical treatments such as Botox and filler treatments normally require no or little downtime.
Patience is a virtue! Again, it depends on the procedure but the principles are much the same. Whilst there is a rapid reduction in the amount of swelling in the first few weeks following surgery, the healing process continues for many months after as the skin "shrink wraps" itself over the underlying structures. We generally advise that a patient will be getting towards their final result by about a year or so but there can be some subtle changes even beyond that. Skin thickness will also influence healing, with thicker skin patients often taking somewhat longer for all the swelling to settle fully.
Given that it takes up to a year for all the swelling to settle following surgery, we normally advise waiting at least this period of time before contemplating any kind of revision surgery, particularly for patients who have had surgery elsewhere where we may not have clear information about what was done in their original surgery. For our few own patients requiring a small "touch up" type procedure, we may be able to do this a little sooner but waiting for everything to fully heal is advisable.
Given the specialist nature of what we do, we get many patients seeking advice for revision surgery following procedures elsewhere. Dependent on the circumstances and results from previous surgery, there may be occasions when we simply feel further surgery either cannot improve matters or the risks of a further procedure outweighs any potential benefits. These are difficult decisions based on extensive experience of doing revision surgery and we spend a lot of time discussing this with our patients.
Some patients may also be advised against surgery based on their emotional state or for specific psychiatric conditions such as body dysmorphic disorder or depression. Patients may not be aware they have this and, again, we base decisions on our own observances and experience of having seen similar patients before. When in doubt, we may recommend a referral for further assessment prior to proceeding with surgery. We don't take our decision making lightly; our patients welfare is our overriding concern - we run an extremely ethical practice with no emphasis on "selling" procedures.
Clearly there will be a wide variation in such fees and we understand patients concerns about costs. Many factors influence overall fees including the experience of the surgeon, location, where the procedure will be performed and what additional costs are included. Our fees reflect the extensive experience of our Medical Director, Mr Santdeep Paun and his dedication to this area of expertise. Valuing our patients safety, we also only operate in the very best hospitals in Central London which have full back up facilities, rather than in small clinics and our anaesthetists are highly qualified. We give all inclusive quotes with no additional charges payable other than for post medications which vary for each patient.
We recommend patients do not overstretch themselves to pay for surgery and would rather they delay their procedure until affordable. Equally, it can be tempting to seek cheaper alternative clinics but we do suggest our patients do a lot of research and not be tempted by offers or deals or fancy adverts/websites.