When good treatments go bad…

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Have you ever looked at someone, be it a celebrity or a friend or the woman behind you in the queue at Woolworths, and wondered “HOW did her face get that way?”  “Surely she can see how ridiculous she looks?”  “Which doctor did that to her?”  “Why hasn’t her family/friends/husband told her to stop?”  While the entire medical aesthetic industry gets a bad reputation from these cases, you can rest assured that 90% of these treatments DO NOT end up looking overdone – but how does this happen?  Here is our opinion:

Patient factors:

One thing that anybody in this industry will agree with is that it is amazing how quickly people forget how they look.  It is incredibly common for a patient to undergo a treatment, only to come back a month later to say that they feel cheated for having paid money for a treatment that has made NO difference to their face.

This is the reason many aesthetic doctors will insist upon taking before photos for even the most minor of procedures.  On showing these patients their before photos side-by-side with a current photo most are shocked at how dramatic the change is, and cannot believe that they ever looked the way they did before.  The patient’s who still believe the change is not dramatic enough are the ones that may land up with the “cat face”.

This phenomenon is recognized amongst plastic surgeons, aesthetic GP’s and even facial beauty therapists alike, and it may be due to the fact that they do not see any changes that patients seek out more and more when it comes to procedures like Botox and fillers.  These patients will land up going from doctor to doctor getting more and more procedures until they believe they can see a visible improvement.  The problem is that they only see a change long after everyone else has, and by the time they are satisfied they already look abnormal.

Of course some of these patients are suffering from body dysmorphia, and will always feel they need more treatments no matter what they do to themselves, however its always important to note that as with all psychiatric conditions body dysmorphia occurs on a spectrum, and not everyone who has one too many aesthetic procedures has a diagnosable psychiatric illness.

Doctor factors:

Being an aesthetic GP can be very challenging.  Doctors have to decide early on what their approach to aesthetics is and stick to it to attract the patient demographic they are after.  Some doctors prefer the slow and subtle approach to facial aesthetics, while others prefer the dramatic look of plumped lips and faces with taught skin even in older patients.  For this reason you should always discuss with your doctor what kind of work they like to do, and if possible get a word-of-mouth referral from a friend who you think looks wonderful before deciding on an aesthetic doctor.

When a patient walks through the door and says they haven’t had enough fillers/Botox/lifting etc, it’s up to the doctor to decide whether the patient is right and could do with a bit more, or whether having further treatments will make the patient look odd, and if the latter is the case to then refuse to treat the patient in the nicest way possible.  It may be very tempting for a doctor to give a client what they want in order to retain their business (especially if they are going to be a frequent visitor like many of these types of patients tend to be) and keep the client happy, since if they do not the patient will simply seek treatment elsewhere, which is very easily done.

A good doctor’s obligation is to be honest with the patient about when enough is enough however the second problem aesthetic GP’s come up against is the fact that they are not qualified to perform surgery.  Almost all patients seeking aesthetic treatments will get to the point where non-surgical treatments are no longer going to give them the “lift” they require.  At this point the aesthetic GP should refer the patient to a plastic surgeon whose work they know and trust for some surgical enhancement (if that is what the patient desires).  Unfortunately, some aesthetic GP’s prefer not to allow their patients to see another doctor in case they lose the client that way, and attempt to solve the problem of excess skin themselves using more and more fillers, filling the excess skin with underlying volume rather than getting the excess skin seen to surgically.  This is when patients start to look like ET, with their face shape changing to more resemble a rugby ball turned on its side, the face appearing wider than it is tall due to excess cheek fillers.

There are so many factors that affect the treatments patients seek and the look that they find appealing.  Social media has made it easier for us to see how celebrities we think look fantastic achieve their looks, and aesthetic treatments are being done in younger and younger patients to prevent wrinkles ever developing.  These treatments are meant to make you look fantastic, and done correctly they really will do that, but your expectations need to be realistic and you need to approach these treatments with clarity.  In young patients these treatments can actually make patients look older, despite adding extra volume that should make them look more youthful.  It is up to your doctor to advise you on what will make you look strange versus what will make you look great, and if you’ve had HA fillers that have gone awry, rest assured that they can easily (if not cheaply) be removed.

At Cape Aesthetics we work very closely with Plastic Surgeons and always refer patients rather than trying to get surgical results with non-surgical procedures.  We prefer a slow and subtle approach to aesthetics, rather providing patients with a plan for their treatments over a few months, rather than trying to do too much too soon and having patients look obviously “done”.

If you would like to find out more about our aesthetic treatments, or on getting fillers removed, give us a call on (021) 6833048 extension 1 or send us an email on info@capeaesthetics.co.za

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