Thank you all who took the time to vote for me in Locale magazine’s “Who’s your favorite Plastic Surgeon in Newport Beach?” For me, the nomination was equivalent to being selected as an Olympian. Win, lose or draw, the chance to compete is what mattered, however the poll, following close on the 2016 summer games, couldn’t help but stimulate some battle lines. I am pleased to inform you that I finished in the top 7, although I am uncertain what this implies and you should not expect me to deviate vastly from my “metier”, which is to take care of patients.
My practice focus is cosmetic surgery and my clientele predominantly recruited from “friends and family”. I am grateful, every day for your unwavering confidence in calling me “your family (Plastic Surgeon)/doc” for I have taken care of generations within a family: spouses & exes, grandmothers,mothers & daughters and sometimes even fathers and daughters. Each patient encounter has challenged my technical abilities, problem solving abilities and ultimately taught me so many life lessons. I have danced at weddings, cried at funerals and watched my patients’ children grow into their own lives. Having this sense of greater community and grounding is vital for someone like me who is introspective by nature. Somewhere along the process of the struggling to understand what is requested, whether the patient is “ready” to proceed and I know how to deliver, a patientphysician alliance is forged.
This week has been illustrative. Postop “blues” are not uncommon, especially if the patient’s experience has been plagued by the holy triumvirate: pain, nausea, constipation. Add an unexpected rash, stress of a transition (end of a relationship, moving) and the cocktail is decidedly toxic. Wiping tears, formulating contingencies and reassuring that desired results will evolve, provided that patience, trust and communication is robust and forthcoming. Ensuring excellent results requires more than doing the operation well, it requires overseeing wound healing, setting expectations and stewarding the patient until they “graduate” and no longer have to consult me on routine matters. I often think about the enormity of what we do and how much the cosmetic surgery candidate confides.
Yesterday, I greeted a satisfied patient from Chicago, who I had not seen for over 15 years. I vividly remembered how she briefed me that she did not want to be so top heavy that she stooped like a #7. She returned because she felt comfortable. Her results have complimented her lifestyle and she was not obliged to enter the 10 year revisional cycle for breast implants. We discussed the 5th generation cohesive anatomical gel implants and made no definite plans, but left the door open. The Internet has influenced how patients find us and we have been fortunate to have cared for out of state and nonUSA patients.
Relationship building does require face to face time. Today, our new MA astutely asked whether lactating mothers were eligible for injectables. The “new” mother, one of my long term patients weathered unimaginable sorrow as her husband died unexpectedly a few months after her first surgery. She regrouped, concentrated on her boys and students and found love again. She wasn’t disappointed about not having a mini mommy makeover after being informed on the medical rationale.
I am so privileged to travel this life with my patients and staff. The interactions are so compelling, I look forward to coming to work. Thank you all for the opportunity to serve. Namaste!