RealSelf.com has published a list of cosmetic procedures ranked on whether patients think having a particular procedure was worth it, based on patients answering their survey question, “Was your cosmetic surgery or treatment worth it?”
While the ranking of patient satisfaction for various cosmetic surgery procedures is debatable, I find that there are definitely favorites. As a Minneapolis plastic surgeon, a tally from my own practice finds that breast enlargement and liposuction patients seem to be quite pleased with their decision to have cosmetic surgery. The survey came up with different conclusions. Perhaps the ranking by RealSelf.com merely represents overall patient satisfaction, without taking into account the quality or training of the physician or technician performing the surgery or treatment. I feel that omitting this crucial element is an oversight.
According to the survey, the top two procedures, tummy tucks and breast reductions are rated at the top. They are almost always done by board certified plastic surgeons. The bottom two procedures, Veloshape and mesotherapy, are almost never done by board certified plastic surgeons. As you move from top to bottom on this list, the percentage of each procedure done by board certified plastic surgeons becomes less and less. For instance, tumescent liposuction, Smart Lipo, liposculpture, liposuction and Vaser lipo, are all done by board certified plastic surgeons, as well as general surgeons, dermatologists, head and neck surgeons (otorhinolaryngologists), family doctors, and gynecologists. In fact you can probably get some type of liposuction done by any medical or surgical subspecialist. Obviously, the medical training in such a wide spectrum of surgical providers can be extremely variable. The survey overlooked this important factor.
As a board certified plastic surgeon, my own bias concludes that training is paramount when choosing a physician. Plastic surgery residency is intensely focused on aesthetics of the body and face and the sculptural aspects of surgery. In addition, the medical students who are most often drawn to a plastic surgery residency have both an aptitude and intense interest in the artistic aspects of surgery. Therefore, I believe that a key factor in patient satisfaction is to understand the qualifications of the person doing your surgery or treatment. However, as with all physicians, plastic surgeons do have dissatisfied patients, a fact of life in the practice of medicine in general. Choose wisely.