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Changing Patients, Changing Times

By: Merge magazine's editorial advisory board
Posted: November 2, 2010, from the November 2010 issue of
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With the advent of the Internet and all the information available on the Web, as well as the direct-to-consumer marketing that most aesthetic companies are doing, it has really changed the knowledge base of the patient, which can be a good thing and a bad thing. It does lead to a more informed patient, but there are also a lot of elements that need to be interpreted. There are now chat rooms where people discuss products they’ve used and procedures they’ve had done, which has increased the dissemination of knowledge to the public. That much knowledge can be overwhelming at times, and it’s imperative that a physician offer patients a discerning evaluation, because each person is different and treatment plans need to be individualized. Patients need a qualified physician to be able to recommend the best procedure, technology or product to them.
Miles Graivier, MD, FACS
North Atlanta Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Roswell, GA

Definitely yes, the aesthetic consumer has changed. Consumers are much better educated now, and are definitely more price-conscious and shop around more. It’s not unusual for a patient to say, ‘I’ve seen five other doctors about this kind of procedure, now what can you do for me?’ They are definitely more likely to shop around for the best procedure for their money.
Joseph M. Gryskiewicz, MD, FACS
Gryskiewicz Twin Cities Cosmetic Surgery, Burnsville and Edina, MN

Having been in practice for 14 years, I find more people now are aware of what we do, especially given all the TV shows about plastic surgery. At this point, if someone has never heard of Botox, my response is, ‘What do you mean you’ve never heard of Botox? Where have you been past 10 years?’
Jason Pozner, MD
Sanctuary Plastic Surgery, Boca Raton, FL

Without a doubt, aesthetic consumers are much better informed, and it’s something I’ve been seeing more in the past five to ten years. The main reason for that is the Internet and the continual improvement in what we as cosmetic surgeons and dermatologists have to offer. Additionally, the proliferation of educational and informative materials such as magazines and publications that are nearly 100% devoted to our industry is a huge benefit to us in the long run.
Joel Schlessinger, MD
Skin Specialists, PC, Omaha, NE

I’ve been practicing for more than 15 years as a cosmetic dermatologist, and when it was first introduced for aesthetic use, hardly anyone knew about Botox, let alone other fillers and treatments. Patients would come in with very little knowledge and ask a lot of questions, usually good questions, and they seemed a little more skeptical and concerned about the potential results of filler and laser treatments. Now it’s something that everyone knows about and is familiar with. Today my patients don’t ask nearly as many questions, and in fact, sometimes I have to talk them out of procedures that aren’t right for them. This, opposed to how I used to have to spend just 15 to 20 minutes explaining a procedure to patients and telling them why they would benefit. Now people are much more keen and eager to have things done.
Nowell Solish, MD, FRCPC
Dr. Nowell Solish, Cosmetic Dermatologist, Toronto