I have been in private practice for 13 years and have operated on at least 1500-2000 patients, if not more.
This is what I have learned during these past thirteen years.
Experience counts! In my opinion, the best resident ever, from the best plastic surgery program in the world, will not have consistently good results compared to an average plastic surgeon with over ten years of experience. However, everyone has to start somewhere! I am forever thankful for all the patients who trusted my “inexperience”!
In some cases, I wish I had been more aggressive in the beginning. Rhinoplasty is a great example. Early on, I was too conservative in my approach to rhinoplasty. However, at least I didn’t “screw up” anyone’s nose. It is always better, if not sure, to do less than to do too much, since it is much harder to go back than to go forward.
It is important to listen what the PATIENT WANTS, and not what I think the patient needs. If my recommendation does not fit the patient’s desires, it is usually best to refer the patient to another plastic surgeon. An addendum to this is if I or my staff do not like a patient, it is best to refer them to another plastic surgeon.
Most doctors consider patients desiring cosmetic surgery as “crazy”. In my experience, however, most of my patients have realistic expectations and are very pleased with their experience and result. Maybe I attract “normal’ patients! However, I have no qualm in refusing to operate on a patient if I feel they have unrealistic expectations or are looking for an over-operated, exaggerated look. As I have stated in a previous blog, an exaggerated look may get one attention, but not necessarily respect. If one gains people’s respect, then attention will follow.
Fortunately, my practice has a very high satisfaction rate, but it is impossible to please everyone. When a patient has a complaint, I always try to put myself in their place. Most of the time, I have found the patient has a reasonable concern and me and my staff will do our best to help the patient. Rarely, I encounter a patient who simply has unreasonable concerns or requests, and in a professional manner, I will let the patient know so. Sometimes, the patient may threaten to file a lawsuit. My response had always been: “Please do so, that is why I have malpractice insurance.” As of yet, none of these patients have filed a lawsuit! It is important to know when to “cave in” and when to “stand one’s ground”.
Always try to treat the patient as an immediate family member. I have never gone wrong sticking with this motto.
The Chairman of my plastic surgery program gave me these advices which have helped me tremendously: If one cannot explain something, then one does not understand it. Secondly, one can never argue with a piece of paper. Therefore, I make sure I understand a concept before explaining it to a patient. I also take photos and document everything in the chart.
My wife gave me this great advice: As a man, you need to listen to what female patients say. Most women just want an ear to talk to. This has been a lifesaver for me!
Michael A. Jazayeri, M.D. is a board certified plastic surgeon with over 13 years of experience. His office is located in Orange County, California. To schedule a complimentary consultation, please call (714) 834-0101.
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