Top Articles

A positive experience is a known motivator on many levels. What it primarily does is make one want to repeat it. This is a well known customer service concept. In plastic surgery it is no different and that is what accounts for patients returning for additional aesthetic surgeries. If they had a good outcome with few problems (a positive surgical experience), it makes them consider doing more. While the exact number is not known, estimates are that up to 20% of the surgeries performed in a typical aesthetic plastic surgery practice are repeat patients.

This human behavior is better known as accomplishment feedback. Having success in one endeavor engenders a feeling to do more. For the plastic surgery patient I have observed there is a primary and secondary accomplishment feedback effect. The most known of the two is the primary accomplishment feedback patient. There is where the patient has had one surgery (e.g., rhinoplasty) and then comes back later for a new procedure. (e.g., otoplasty) One physical feature has been successfully changed which then makes one think about other changes as well.

The lesser well known is the secondary accomplishment feedback patient. This is where the patient has had one successful surgery (e.g., rhinoplasty) and returns  to essentially have the same surgery to make changes for even further ‘improvement’. In essence they would like to take a good result and try to make it even better. This is both psychologically and surgically challenging as the risks of surgery can be very similar for less of a potential reward. These secondary accomplishment feedback patients can be taxing as trying to point out the risks vs benefit of this decision often falls on deaf ears. Every surgery has risks, such as infection, asymmetries and failure to make the desired changes. Thus it is really possible to make a good result less so by further efforts to modify it.

‘A Positive Surgical Outcome Does Not Guarantee That Such Good Fortune Will Occur The Second Time’

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana

Top Articles