Second Opinions in Plastic Surgery

As a well known Plastic Surgeon in the Hispanic community for 17 years, I often see patients who have had bad experiences or results done elsewhere with other doctors. Some are from overseas, and some are from right here in New York. Some patients are worried, some are disappointed, and others are angry.

Like many Plastic Surgeons, I take pride in my results, but understand complications can occur, and that other factors can come into play that may affect the outcome of a well performed procedure. Patient compliance, skin type, and expectations are important considerations. It is very hard to be certain of exactly what happened with only the patient’s story and a physical exam.
One of the most important things to remember is that it is hard to judge a result without seeing the before images. If you want a good second opinion, it is a great help to bring your before photos. You may be seeking a perfection that is impossible, and the fault may lie not in the operation but in the expectations.

It is always my preference to ask if the patient has discussed the problem with the primary surgeon, and I have even called them with the patient here. If it is an overseas surgery where return is difficult, this is not possible. Remember, you always have the option of returning to the doctor who did the operation. Sometimes the trust is broken, and return is also impossible.
Sometimes urgent care is needed, and I have admitted patients to the hospital from my office, or referred them to the ER across the street when inpatient care is needed. I always tell patients that I charge for my services, and give an estimate of costs before taking you on as a patient. You can always return to your doctor or go to the ER as an option.
I try to be sensitive to each patient’s needs, and many are emotionally vulnerable after complications. If you are angry with you surgeon, let them know either in person or by mail. If I have someone who is dissatisfied,I would hope they would sit down with me so that I could explain options and help. I like to think my colleagues are as honorable.

My best advice is to do your homework before surgery, and if you have suffered a complication, seek the best care possible. It is usually not your fault, and the important thing is to do what you can to safely correct it.