Great Expectations: The Importance Of Having Realistic Goals For Your Plastic Surgery

It’s that time of year again when people start thinking about New Year’s resolutions and these often relate to getting healthier and looking and feeling better about themselves. Maybe this year you’re resolving to have the plastic surgery procedure you’ve wanted for a long time so that you can look as great as you feel. If so, I want to give you some tips on how to keep that resolution and get satisfying results from your surgery. 

Did you know that only about 20 percent of people stick to their New Year’s resolutions for at least six weeks? They start with good intentions, but end up not reaching their goals. I’m not surprised that so few people reach their goals. I work with patients to set goals for their surgery and I know that sometimes people can be far too optimistic about what plastic surgery can and can’t do for them. I think most of us have felt the frustration and disappointment of working on a goal only to come up short of meeting our expectations. 

That’s the keyword: expectations. Whether it’s plastic surgery or New Year’s resolutions, your expectations are the key to success. That’s why I spend a lot of time discussing expectations with my patients in their consultation appointments. We have to figure out—together—if their expectations are realistic from the start. Here are a few examples of unrealistic expectations: 

  • “If I can just lipo these saddlebags, I’ll look like a supermodel!” (Plastic surgery can make you look and feel better, but it won’t make you look like a supermodel if you don’t already look like one.) 
  • “Sure, I still want to lose 50 pounds, but I want a tummy tuck right now.” (Well, then you’ll need another tummy tuck after you lose those pounds!) 
  • “Surgery will save my marriage!” (No, that’s not realistic. It also won’t help you find a new partner, make you popular or perfect, or impress other people.) 

However, having unrealistic expectations about plastic surgery results isn’t automatically the end of the road. A good rapport, trust, and honest communication between you and your surgeon can often turn unrealistic expectations into realistic ones by getting to the root of the expectations. To arrive at realistic expectations and, therefore, realistic results, take these steps: 

  • Schedule a consultation. Your surgeon can help you understand your motivations and goals and work with you to make them realistic. 
  • Do a lot of homework before going to your appointment so that you can be specific and describe in great detail what you don’t like about your body now, what you want, and what you expect your surgical outcome to be. 
  • Honestly assess your reasons for wanting surgery and discuss them with your surgeon. 
  • Understand and assess the options your surgeon thinks are right for you and then, if needed, together you can adjust your goals and expectations to meet reality. 

I help a lot of patients manage their expectations for surgery and they end up very happy with their results. You can be happy with your results too if you work with your surgeon to assess your wants and needs and create realistic expectations.