People sometimes make assumptions about what it’s like to be a top New York plastic surgeon, especially one with many years of success, dozens of media appearances and an office on Park Avenue. We’re here to tell you that although our work is extremely rewarding and we wouldn’t change a thing, there are parts of the job that aren’t as enviable as you might think. Some tasks are tedious, and some can be quite difficult.
Just like the jobs most people have, there are aspects of plastic surgery in New York that are, shall we say, not necessarily glamorous. Don’t believe us? Let us banish some assumptions you may have.
Assumption #1: Plastic Surgery is All About People
Naturally the focus of our practice is our patients, and each member of our team chose his or her career to help people. Nevertheless, running a plastic surgery practice is also about running a small business. That means we have plenty of paperwork to do associated with accounting, purchasing and other routines. We also need to make sure we pay close attention to medical laws, stay current on the changing insurance landscape, and maintain top accreditation status for our outpatient surgical suite. In addition, we devote quite a bit of time to keeping up with new trends, techniques and products by reading numerous journals and attending professional meetings and seminars.
We wish we only had to think about people!
Assumption #2: We Spend Most of Our Time in Surgery
As you can guess, performing cosmetic surgery—and improving the lives of our patients—is our favorite thing to do. But we typically only spend part of two days a week in surgery. Much of the rest of the time we enjoy visiting with patients in consultations and post-op visits. But we do spend a good portion of our weeks accomplishing other things—see Assumption #1!
Assumption #3: We Always See Ourselves as Artists
You often hear that plastic surgery is in large part an art—and it is. That’s why you see terms like “sculpting” and “contouring” used in our field. But when we are called on to help someone who has gone overseas for a procedure, or to perform revision surgery for a patient who chose an inexperienced surgeon, there’s a “fix-it” element to our work that can be quite difficult and somewhat risky in addition to artistic.
Whether we are treating an infection, performing revision breast augmentation or re-doing gynecomastia surgery, there are challenges to handle. While we can usually improve a patient’s sub-par (or even alarming) results, we may not be able to create the “perfect” outcome they had hoped for due to scar tissue, skin changes and other factors. We enjoy revision surgery, and we do lots of it. But it is one of the more technical aspects of our work.
Assumption #4: We Eagerly Schedule All Patients for Surgery
This notion could not be further from the truth! Actually, we turn away patients on a regular basis. Sometimes we decline to do surgery due to a patient’s health, but more often it’s because we feel that the individual is not psychologically ready. They may have unrealistic goals, such as looking like a celebrity after surgery or becoming more popular. Or we may suspect they suffer from BDD, Body Dysmorphic Disorder, meaning that they will not be satisfied with their results no matter how good they look.
It is hard to tell a patient he or she is not a good candidate for surgery, because inevitably they’re disappointed. But we do it.
Assumption #5: We Are Universally Celebrated for Our Work
Even today when cosmetic surgery is a hot topic for the media—or perhaps because of it—there are many people who think plastic surgeons’ work tends to be a little “out there.” You’re not alone if you suspect our clientele is dominated by people who want to look like fictional characters or one of the Kardashians. Or you may feel the typical cosmetic surgeon is called on to create extreme results. From humongous hooters to ginormous glutes, we do it all, right?
Not so much. Our average patient is, well, pretty average. Many of our moms are looking to tune up their bodies after pregnancy. Our young patients may want to refine a nose that doesn’t fit the rest of their face. Older people we work with simply want to turn the clock back a bit with a facelift or eyelid lift. Even in the heart of Manhattan, our patients are people just like you, seeking modest, reasonable changes.
Speaking of you, if you’ve been thinking about a procedure but have hesitated, perhaps feeling that cosmetic surgery isn’t for you, why not come in to meet us and see for yourself?