Plastic Surgeon Cites Survey in Advocating Patient Education
Dr. Sean Bidic, a plastic surgeon in Mullica Hill, New Jersey, says recent research shows surgeons need to educate patients more in order to improve satisfaction levels.
Mullica Hill, New Jersey (August 2014) — Dr. Sean Bidic (www.americansurgicalarts.com), a plastic surgeon in Mullica Hill, New Jersey, says improved patient education might improve patient satisfaction when it comes to breast augmentation. He cites a recently released study published in the April issue of the journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery®.
The study surveyed breast augmentation patients and analyzed factors that led to both increased and decreased levels of satisfaction with results. The study showed some of the lower satisfaction ratings were tied closely to patients expecting to recover faster than they did, even if they had good cosmetic results.
"These patients had certain expectations, probably having heard something about breast augmentation recovery taking only a few weeks," Dr. Bidic says. "Most of the people who had lower ratings were older people or those who had their implants placed under their chest muscles — both factors that might prolong the recuperation period."
Dr. Bidic says any factor such as age or implant placement that might change a patient's recovery timeline should be made clear by the surgeon early in the consultation process. At his Mullica Hill, New Jersey, practice, Dr. Bidic's breast augmentation patients are educated about all the different factors which may affect recuperation time, and he makes a point of setting realistic expectations.
"Even if their results turn out beautifully, if the recovery takes longer than they expected, they are not going to be as happy with the overall experience," Dr. Bidic says. "That's why I try to be very clear from the start about every aspect of the recovery process, any risks or possible complications."
The authors of the study, which surveyed 611 breast augmentation patients, wrote, "Physicians should inform patients that submuscular augmentations are associated with a delay in recovery of physical functioning and be aware that older patients may experience diminished satisfaction and should counsel accordingly."
Dr. Bidic says he thinks some surgeons may gloss over some of this information because it's easier to talk about how a patient is going to look in new clothes, for instance, than issues such as pain or activity restrictions.
"It's a surgeon's responsibility to be open and honest about this information, though," he says. "And this study shows that honesty will actually help patients be happier with their results."
The study also shows that the overwhelming majority of breast augmentation patients are satisfied with their results and actually experience improved quality of life, with most patients reporting "very large" improvements in satisfaction with their breasts and in psychosocial and sexual well-being.
"Breast augmentation is exceedingly popular because it really does produce wonderful cosmetic and emotional benefits for hundreds of thousands of patients a year," Dr. Bidic says. "If surgeons embrace these study results and open up more information to their patients before surgery, those levels of satisfaction can increase even more."
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