Avoiding the Plastic Surgery Blues

Doctor recommends patients educate themselves to avoid disappointment after procedures

By Kristi Nelson
|  Wednesday, Feb 3, 2010  |  Updated 11:15 PM CDT
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Avoid Cosmetic Remorse With Pre-Surgery Education

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A plastic surgeon says patients should educate themselves before nipping and tucking.

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Avoid Cosmetic Remorse With Pre-Surgery Education

Educate yourself before you nip and tuck, says a Dallas plastic surgeon.
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Cosmetic surgery may be more popular than ever these days, but patients don't always get the results they expect.

Dr. Sam Hamra, a Dallas plastic surgeon, said he and other doctors are hearing more stories of disappointment. But Hamra, who wrote "The Facelift Letdown: When Results Don't Meet Expectations," a guide for patients, said patients should educate themselves before nipping and tucking.

"All the standard questions have got to be there,” Hamra said. “How much does it cost? How long does it take? What are the complications? Is it in a hospital, is it in your office?"

Because there are more procedures being offered by more doctors these days, Hamra said he and other doctors are hearing more stories of disappointment.

He said about half of his practice consists of secondary surgeries. One of his patients, Arlington dentist Victoria Hutchins, came to see him after she problems with earlier surgery.

Hutchins said she chose plastic surgery as a way to look younger and fresher, but got a nightmare instead.

"There was a lot of 'crepeyness' and wrinkling underneath my eyes, and I had jowling on both sides of my face," she said. "I looked really tired.

Hutchins had several procedures done at once, and she said it seems something went wrong with all of them.

"It was awful; it was embarrassing," she said. "My grandchildren actually made fun of me."

Hamra said patients should educate themselves about their procedures and their surgeons. Failure to get the right information ahead of time could lead to more problems in the long run, he said.

Hutchins said laser resurfacing caused lingering burns and poorly placed cheek implants left her with permanent numbness. She said she should have asked more questions.

"I let myself be sold something, and I should have known better," she said. "I should have known better."

If something goes wrong with a cosmetic procedure on your face, there's no way to cover it up, Hutchins said.

"You spend a whole lot of time crying and wishing you hadn't done it," she said.

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