Other than learning how to deal with delusional personality types (said mostly with love), I’ve actually learned some really valuable tidbits working at a plastic surgery practice all these years. Some are surgical, some are psychological, but all are applicable in a very real-world way. Here are a few tricks of the trade:
- Measure twice, cut once. This is an old adage, usually related to carpentry. The difference, though, is that carpenters can always get a new piece of wood if they screw up. Plastic surgeons are limited by the amount skin and tissue available – and every patient is different. This is kind of a big deal in surgery. You can’t just make a tummy tuck incision all willy-nilly without first measuring and making sure there is enough skin there to close. Obviously, I’m oversimplifying, but you get the picture. In surgery, there is also something called tailor-tacking. It’s a technique (mostly used for breast lifts) to preview the finished product but before any final incisions are made. Lesson: Risk is necessary in order to move forward, but be sure the desired potential outcome justifies the risk.
- Sutton’s Law: Willie Sutton was a notorious bank robber in the ‘30s and ‘40s. Before sentencing, the judge said to Willie, “You have so much money stashed away; why do you rob banks?” Sutton simply replied, “Because that’s where the money is.” Basically, the idea is that one should first consider the obvious. This might apply to diagnosing a health issue, or for some, deciding which surgery takes priority in a laundry list of things that would otherwise break the bank (see what I did there??). Lesson: It’s obvious, isn’t it?
- “If you don’t know where you’re going, chances are you won’t get there” (attributed to the famous American philosopher, Yogi Berra). In cosmetic surgery, there’s more than one way to skin a cat (for example, there are many types of breast lifts). But before we can figure out the “how”, we need to first establish the “what” and “why.” For instance, if you want to change your facial appearance, is it the nose, the chin…or is it the lips? What surgery yields the most bang for your buck and why? As Olivia Pope would say, “What’s the end game?” (I’ve linked the Wikipedia article on OP for those of you who don’t know who she is. But so we’re clear; you should know). Lesson: Defining the anticipated result is imperative before a plan of action can be formulated.
- Everything beforehand is an explanation; everything afterward is an excuse. Think about it. When you’re selling a product or service – or you’re buying a product or service, everything before the deal closes is an explanation of what’s to come. Everything after the deal is done can be interpreted as an excuse (especially if shit hits the fan). When it comes to surgery (and especially cosmetic surgery), we are vigilant about managing expectations. We are honest, informative, thorough, and not salesy. Lesson: As the consumer, you should expect and demand the same.
- If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. P.T. Barnum (the circus showman made famous for promoting hoaxes) once said, “There’s a sucker born every minute.” So don’t be the sucker that’s the first to use some ridiculous, new-fangled machine (I’ve heard of one that puts ice cubes in your belly and promises total body fat reduction, wtf!??) Do not be dazzled by made up awards on the wall (only a few really mean anything – I’ll cover this in another post). And for heaven’s sake, DO NOT go to some foreign country where they charge 1/100000 of what everyone else is charging and expect a decent result. Lesson: Use your brain. Do the research. Make good choices.
Welp, there was 8.5 years of applied plastic surgery knowledge in a few hundred words. Take it FWIW.