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Assessment of after surgery results is understandably a big focus for plastic surgery patients. They are often quick after surgery to begin observing the details of their results, comparing sides and noting any differences from what they may have expected before surgery. A big part of presurgical counseling/education before plastic surgery is controlling the speed of expectations, describing the effects of swelling/bruising and tissue distortions and how long all that takes to go away. Despite the best presurgical education, it is hard for patient to appreciate that many of the fine details of their surgical changes will take three to six months to settle and see the final results. (some procedures can take up to a year)

Patients frequently misinterpret the magnitude of the surgery to how long it takes to see the final outcome. In bigger surgeries patients frequently assume and understand that recovery will be longer and buy into the being patient approach. In smaller surgeries for smaller problems, however, they often assume that the recovery will be very short and they will see their final results sooner. While in some cases this may be true, it often isn’t.

Often smaller aesthetic surgeries take just as long to see the final outcomes as more extensive surgery. This is not because the swelling and bruising are so significant although it is at least proportionate to the size of the problem. It is primarily due to what brought the patient to surgery (or back to surgery in the case of a revision) in the first place. The drive to have surgery for a relatively small aesthetic concern speaks to the patient’s concern about it and how carefully they look at it. With this close and frequent inspection after surgery comes impatience and the desire to see a ‘quick fix’. But the reality is even small aesthetic problems take time to heal and settle and they often are not faster than more extensive surgery.

‘When The Aesthetic Concern Being Treated Is Small, It Takes A Disproportionately Long Time To Often See The Final Result’

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana

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