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January 12, 2008

Realistic Expectations

It is important that communication between patient and the cosmetic surgeon lead to a mutual appreciation of what results can reasonably be expected both from the procedure and for the individual patient. Sometimes a procedure, such as a MACS-Lift (short scar facelift) can achieve excellent results but there will be factors particular to the individual patient that will result in more modest improvement. Other times, as with liposuction surgery, equivalent amounts of fat removal may result in significantly different degrees of satisfaction in different patients.

Unfortunately the surgeon does not start with a clean slate. He or she must deal with the material that the patient presents with. In the case of the MACS-Lift, the ideal patient has relatively thin skin and well defined facial bone structure. The bony structure of the neck should be vertical and not forward sloping, and should form a 90 degree angle with the jaw line. The greater the patient deviates from this ideal, the less likely it is that an optimal result will be achieved. People who have round faces with lots of fat under the chin and thick heavy skin can be particularly challenging.

A similar situation can exist with liposuction. Although similar amounts of fat may be removed from two patients, the heavier of the patients may experience less satisfactory results, even in the case where more fat is removed, because the percentage change is not as great and the difference is not as noticeable to the patient.

Therefore it is desirable for the patient to understand not only the potential benefits of any procedure, but how those benefits will likely play out in their particular circumstances.



Gerald N. Bock MD




California Skin Laser Center



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