When I meet with a potential patient for the first time, we spend quite a bit of time considering what would be a successful outcome for them. The truth is, each and every one of us interprets this very differently, so it is vital that we establish an understanding at the outset.
We do this by asking two questions.
- What are the three areas, in order of priority, that you want to improve?
Now, there may be more or less than three areas but it is a good starting point. Many patients say things like “I don’t like my lips”, or “my eyes are all wrinkly”. Whilst I can understand the general description, in order to really understand how they feel about this we ask a second question:
- How do you feel about your appearance?
What I am looking for here are the emotional attributes that they are associating with the areas they have identified.
They could be:
- Look less tired
- Look less saggy
- Look less sad
- Look less angry
- Look more attractive
- Look slimmer
- Look younger
- Look more feminine
Once I have this information, I can talk to them about how we may be able to achieve those results and the various treatment options available that will help achieve, or at least partially achieve the desired effect; I am always honest and realistic about the outcomes. If I feel that the desired outcomes are not possible or will create a very artificial look (see my blog on The Too Far Face), I may even try and steer them in a different direction or refuse to give the treatment. As a GP my first priority is to do no harm and changing someone’s features dramatically, with what may be a trending style of the moment may not be the wisest thing to do.
That said, the majority of people seeking aesthetic (cosmetic) treatment normally only want small changes that refresh their looks and achieve the desired results listed above.
Another way I gauge the expectations of my patients is to ask them to bring in a favourite photo of themselves and to tell me what they liked about themselves in that picture. Very often it is a younger version of themselves and I can see how their face looked and what they want to get back to a degree. We can’t always turn back the clock to that time but we can soften the ravages of time in many ways.
All this happens within the free consultation time that I offer all new potential patients. Many people have taken a long time to pluck up the courage to come through our doors, so I want to make sure that when they leave they understand their options; any possible side-effects or risks and are well informed and happy with any treatment they sign up to.
So, if you are one of those people who have been thinking about treatment for a long time now, or were worried that you would be ‘sold’ inappropriate treatment if you came. Think again – understanding what you need and want are very important to us at Somerset Cosmetic Clinic.
Give us a call for you free consultation and see just what is possible for you..