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Look Back to Move Forward

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By: Steven H. Dayan, MD, FACS
Posted: May 3, 2010, from the May 2010 issue of

Abstract: Making patients happy with their procedures’ results should be the No. 1 priority in cosmetic medicine. In order to achieve that end, however, it’s important to remember that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. The earliest origins of cosmetic surgery dealt with people’s desire to create an outlook for themselves that made them happier, and it’s time to incorporate that kind of thinking back into today’s medical aesthetic practices.

As I see it, the key to achieving a successful cosmetic medical practice is to focus on one goal: patient satisfaction. A happy patient is really the only outcome that matters. However, attaining satisfaction is highly individual. I continue to be amazed by what one person finds disfiguring another can find insignificant or even attractive.

Recently, I had a patient come in crying, “Doctor, you have to help me. I am so miserable, everybody is staring at me. I can’t go out of my house. It is paralyzing.” As I sat listening to her, I couldn’t help noticing the large, eight-centimeter stellate depressed scar running across her right cheek.

Continuing to question her about her dilemma, I asked, “How long have you been bothered by your condition?”

She responded, “About two months.”