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The Reality of Botched Cosmetic Procedures

Beautiful young woman with perforation lines

In her nearly 30 years of experience in private practice, plastic surgeon Christine Petti, MD has seen and treated a large number of patients who have been the unfortunate sufferers of botched plastic surgery and cosmetic treatments. According to Dr. Petti, there are many explanations as to why patients may end up with results that are unnatural-looking, disfiguring, or even life-threatening:

  • The patient was not actually a good candidate for the procedure: Patients can sometimes hide prohibited behavior (such as smoking) or dangerous medical conditions in order to undergo the procedures they want. Ultimately, it is the responsibility of the surgeon to perform a thorough examination to detect medical reasons or physical attributes that could make the procedure inadvisable. In extreme cases, unscrupulous surgeons may ignore problematic conditions in favor of financial gain.
  • Poor surgical decision making and/or technique: Surgeons who take shortcuts to reduce time during complex procedures can yield problematic distortions in the final result. Often, these issues can be avoided by taking the time to follow through with the proper technique. Also, surgeons (or non-surgeons) without  the surgical skill, anatomical knowledge, technical training, or aesthetic eye to perform the procedures they offer can create undesirable outcomes.
  • Irresponsible surgical care in the operating room and post-surgically: Failing to detect and treat bleeding or signs of an infection early on can lead to serious complications. If allowed to persist, these conditions can lead to severe illness and permanent disfigurement. Furthermore, the patient must closely follow all postoperative instructions, such as refraining from exercise and properly caring for incisions, to avoid negatively impacting the quality of their results.
  • Patients with unreasonable expectations, body dysmorphia, and plastic surgery obsession: Psychologically unstable patients with a plastic surgery “habit” can take on a very unnatural appearance in the process of pursuing unattainable perfection. Repeated surgeries, surgeon hopping, inadvisable procedures, and unrealistic goals make it nearly impossible to satisfy these individuals. Surgeons need to be able to discern tell-tale personality traits during the consultation to avoid participating in this destructive cycle.
  • Discounted procedures, black market products, and medical tourism: Leaving the country for surgery discounts or undergoing enhancement with unapproved materials to save money can be a dangerous mistake. Outside the U.S., there is so much uncertainty surrounding the standard of care, techniques used, and training of the practitioner, which can make these types of procedures a tremendous gamble that can have devastating results. Patients should also be wary of very low prices on procedures within the United States. High-quality plastic surgery, performed by a board certified plastic surgeon, using FDA-approved products typically involves a significant investment, and practitioners offering deep discounts on cosmetic treatment are likely cutting corners in some phase of the process.

If you are considering plastic surgery or cosmetic treatment of any sort, Dr. Petti suggests remaining in the United States and thoroughly researching the background, certifications, and training of your surgeon or practitioner. She also recommends approaching discount offers on surgery with skepticism and reviewing examples of the results your cosmetic provider has achieved for previous patients.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of this Blog series on Botched Cosmetic Procedures…

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