You wake up one day, turn on the TV, and start tuning into your favorite show. At first, you are focused on following the plot and drama of this particular episode. After a few minutes, that all changes. You see your favorite actress showing her beautiful cleavage, and all you can think about is how you wish your breasts would look like that. Eventually, after giving the idea some more thought, you make a life-changing decision: you will undergo breast augmentation.
Cosmetic surgeons hear stories like this from patients all the time. On one hand, we are pleased they have decided surgery is right for them. However, many times we have to remind them that just because their favorite actress looks great with that breast size, doesn’t mean it will look nearly as good on them.
This is a dilemma faced by surgeons across the world. Do you do what the patient wants, no matter what? Or do you speak honestly about what, in your professional opinion, is best for that particular individual? In our practice, we adhere by the latter principle. While we desire to give every patient what they want, we refuse to sit back and do something that will negatively affect their health down the road. We could not live with ourselves if we knew such a cosmetic procedure would harm their health, and went through with it anyway.
Sometimes in life, it is not easy to always do the right thing. In our industry, it is much easier to tell a patient that they will see immediate results following surgery than telling them the truth: it often takes weeks, if not months to get the results you want.
However, it is our professional duty to be honest with our patients. Before obtaining a license to practice cosmetic surgery, every surgeon must meet certain ethical standards that they will continue to abide by as their practice gets up and running. Not telling patients the truth, in our mind, is the very definition of poor ethics.