“Revisions are Good!” Understanding Cosmetic Revision, Touch Up, or Redo Surgery – Part Two

After cosmetic surgery, things don’t always heal exactly as planned. Revision, touch up or redo operations are performed to improve outcome, results, and success. I believe in the phrase – “Revisions are good!” The procedures often lead to a much greater degree of satisfaction and success. The effort and the energy to do the revision is usually well worth it. In this educational writing (Part Two), I review expense, success, and satisfaction involved in cosmetic redo surgery. Part One covered why do it, what is involved, and healing and recovery. Patients interested in specifics to breast revision can read more here.

Expense

This is the biggest stumbling block for the person desiring a revision. Almost everything involved with revisions is positive except monetary concerns. This is the biggest negative when considering touch up procedures. Expenses can and do occur, and this can lead to a problem in the relationship between the doctor and patient. Unfortunately, when we want to make improvements on our cosmetic surgery, we don’t have health insurance to cover expenses. Touch ups have expense that varies on what is going to be done. This could be a minor expense for little things to quite a lot of money for larger changes.

Some patients will blame the doctor and feel that everything should be free. Some feel they paid once and anything else should be covered. I believe this stems from blaming the doctor if things don’t work out perfectly. The lesson to learn is that even a procedure that is done “perfectly,” might still not be the “perfect” result in the eye of the beholder or the patient. Remember, surgery is an art. Risks, problems, and adverse outcomes can and do happen. It is not typically the surgeon “messing up” that leads to a problem. Trying to blame the doctor or the doctor blaming the patient leads to a bad relationship that benefits no one. It is best to focus on what are the choices and what can be done to improve things. This usually includes discussion about expenses.

There is no typical rule or cosmetic surgery revision policy for expenses. It depends entirely on the situation and the particular operation. A huge variable is who was the original doctor. Are you sticking with the same doctor or picking another one? If you go to another doctor with problems from prior surgery, you might have to pay a large amount for the revision. Some doctors will actually charge excessive amounts in this case. They almost charge excessively to make a point that the first doctor was “no good,” and the new doctor is better. Hence, now you will have to pay a lot extra. Sounds horrible, but this can happen and does happen. In general, sticking with the original doctor who did the surgery is the least expensive option. The plastic surgeon wants to help you and fix things up. This doesn’t mean free surgery typically, but it means surgery at the least expensive amount. I recommend patients stick with their doctor if the relationship is still sound. This is wise advice. If you can’t stick with him, then expenses are probably going to significantly rise.

Small minor touch-ups are usually done in the office and have small expenses. Larger procedures needing the operating room will have anesthesia and facility expenses. I believe, in these cases, it is important to try and keep expenses down. Many times the doctor will do the surgery for free, and the patient will pay anesthesia and facility expenses. This would mean an extremely inexpensive operation for the patient. This is probably the most common way plastic surgeons do revision operations. However, the person might not feel this is inexpensive if they feel it should be free. In general, revisions are not free. They are individualized for each case. The original surgeon will be the best bet to keep expenses down to fix things up. Switching to another doctor can dramatically increase expenses.

Success and Satisfaction

“Revisions are good!” I really believe this fact. Patients who are unhappy or partially unhappy after cosmetic surgery can become much more satisfied and pleased. It can make all the difference in the world to many people.

Some examples will help illustrate this point. Imagine someone has liposuction of the abdomen or a tummy tuck. When these are done, I will be extremely meticulous in working on the smoothest removal of fat. This is part of my liposculpturing. This is true also for my abdominoplasty surgery, where I will be meticulous in fat removal. Extreme care goes into the fat removal with my procedures. But this does not mean it heals perfectly. Why not? Surgery is an art. People can have fluid accumulations or small amounts of blood develop. The body doesn’t always heal perfectly or just as well as planned. This might mean that a small area is “full” or looks like it has more fat. Swelling goes away, but sometimes this area doesn’t heal perfectly. In these cases it can be frustrating to a patient. Treatment involves giving it time to heal and to see if it flattens over the recovery. Pressure garments are a huge help. But sometimes it doesn’t go away. In these cases a touch up or revision can really help. The area if small can be treated with a little liposuction under local anesthesia. The success is really high. People usually love the more perfect result. The expense is usually very little because it is a local procedure. Results and satisfaction tend to really go up with the added effort and time of the redo or touch up.

Another example, might be a patient who has an upper eye lid lift or blepharoplasty. This is done for aging of the eyes and hooding. After the procedure, some people will feel that not enough skin was removed. The operation improves hooding and doesn’t make it perfect. The operation is done to remove all extra skin but still allow for complete eye lid closure. Cut out too much skin and the eyes don’t close. After the eye lid lift, major improvement is common. But having no extra skin or a perfect result can not be guaranteed. In these cases, a revision can be desired. The procedure is again only local. It involves removing an extra sliver of skin. Results are very high and again satisfaction is much better. The nuisance of doing the redo is well outweighed by the improved cosmetic results. This is another example of “Revisions are good!” However, it has an expense. It is relatively inexpensive but well worth it.

I am not saying that everyone will be perfectly happy or will have perfect results with revision cosmetic surgery. This is obviously not possible. But the success and the improvement is usually enough to make the disappointed person happy. And many times it can make the person really happy, as their result becomes what was desired in the first place.

saunders2Effort matters. Effort pays off with greater success. Revision and touch up procedures take effort on the part of the surgeon and the patient. In my experience, it really pays off frequently. I believe it often leads to greater satisfaction and better results. It is rare that a person doesn’t get some degree of improvement. Often the change can be large and make all the difference in the world. Another way to phrase it is to go the extra mile. The extra mile can make you go from liking your operation to loving it! “Revisions are good!” All things being equal, do the revision.
 
I am a board certified plastic surgeon who practices exclusively cosmetic surgery. Come in for a consultation if you are interested in discussing what surgery can do for you. Consultations are educational and thorough.