Patients often ask me what procedure they should have. A surgical or non-surgical option…this type of lift or that type of lift? In addition to ensuring they’re a good candidate for one procedure or another, it also comes down to what their pain point is. Here are a few examples to elucidate my point.
Pain point: surgical vs non-surgical
Let’s say a patient is trying to decide between liposuction or non-surgical fat freezing with CoolSculpting (CS). First and foremost is education. I emphasize to the patient that these procedures are not equivalent. CoolSculpting won’t produce the same results as liposuction. Even the folks at CoolSculpting would agree.
So I ask, what’s your pain point? If they’re a candidate for both procedures, what’s more important to them? Getting a 25% fat reduction (CS) without surgery or 85% with liposuction (surgery)? What’s a greater concern? Surgical downtime (liposuction) vs no downtime (CS)? Obvious results (lipo) vs more subtle results (CS)?
The decision is ultimately up to them if they’re a candidate for both procedures but it’s critical they have reasonable expectations regarding the results.
Pain point: shape vs incisions?
Here’s another example from a recent patient. She wanted a breast lift. She was very clear that she wanted perky breasts (improved shape) without implants. Forgoing implants in a breast lift is totally reasonable because the success of the lift is mostly dependent on removing excess skin. If minimal skin needs to be removed to tighten the “skin envelope,” fewer incisions are required. And conversely, more skin removal, more incisions.
If someone has a slight droop or ptosis to their breasts, an incision only around the areola (well hidden) allows the removal of enough skin to give an adequate lift. See photo above. If they have more droop, they’ll need a “lollipop” lift (see below). That’s an incision around the areola and extending down to the fold under the breast. If they have a greater degree of droop, then they’ll need the “anchor” incision which includes the “lollipop” incision plus an incision within the fold under the breast.
With that background, they have a decision to make. Is their pain point achieving the perkiest breast possible? Then that may require the “lollipop” or “anchor” incision to remove more skin. If they want fewer incisions, they need to understand they won’t get as much lift. So again, what’s your pain point? Nicely shaped breasts with more incisions that will fade with time or droopy breasts with fewer incisions? The pain point, and resulting answer, is different for everyone!
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