You spend plenty of time choosing your plastic surgery procedure, as well as the surgeon that promises to deliver the results you are hoping for. But what if those results do not end up meeting your expectations? The need for revision surgery may be imminent, but do you know what is involved with this subsequent procedure? Revision surgery is often more complex than the original procedure, requiring special skill and ample training and experience to get those results just right. If you are not pleased with the outcome of your plastic surgery, check out these basics from the New York Group for Plastic Surgery before scheduling your revision procedure.
What is Revision Surgery?
Revision surgery is a procedure that is done to correct or enhance the results of an earlier surgery. There are many reasons why revision surgery might be requested. In some cases, it might make sense to go to the same surgeon that performed your initial procedure, as most doctors will offer some revision procedures with reduced charges. Other times, you may feel more comfortable finding a different surgeon for your revision surgery.
Revision surgery is generally not performed immediately following an original procedure. In fact, some surgeries should not occur for at least a year or even longer. The reason behind the delay is first to give the body ample time to heal completely before undergoing another procedure. In addition, many plastic surgeries take a significant amount of time before the full results of the procedure can be seen. In other words, you may look worse before you look better but in the end, your results will meet your expectations after all.
Reasons for Revision Surgery
Once the correct amount of time has elapsed, revision surgery may be considered. Common reasons for revision surgery might include:
- Unsatisfactory results from the first procedure, possibly due to an inexperienced surgeon or a failure to listen to and understand the patient’s aesthetic goals
- Deciding to change the size or shapes of implants (usually after breast augmentation)
- Poor wound healing that left less than positive results
- Other types of complication after surgery that affect the overall results of the procedure
- Changes in your aesthetic goals
- Plastic surgery impairs function (usually after rhinoplasty)
Common Types of Revision Surgery
There are a number of plastic surgery procedures that might prompt a patient to explore their options with revision surgery at a later time:
- Breast augmentation – often due to asymmetry, unsatisfactory appearance or changes to implant size
- Breast reduction – insufficient reduction, procedure did not produce aesthetic results patient wanted
- Tummy tuck – insufficient reduction of midsection, poor wound healing, weight gain
- Rhinoplasty – may be requested to create better symmetry, correct improper surgical techniques or restore breathing function
- Facelift – due to continued jowling, unnatural appearance or changes to appearance after surgery
- Facial implants – requested to remove the implants completely or change the size of shape of the current implants
Revision surgery may also be used after cancer treatment to restore aesthetic quality to the breast or to an area of the face where the tumor was removed.
Scar Revision Surgery
Another frequent request is a procedure to correct a scar that healed poorly. This can lead to unsightly deformities that can make the patient even more self-conscious about their appearance than they were before the initial procedure. Scar revision surgery can be a complex procedure that involves improving or camouflaging the appearance of the scar so it is less noticeable. Most scars cannot be removed completely.
Procedures for scar revision vary considerably, depending on the type, location and size of the scar. In some cases, non-surgical cosmetic treatments or minimally-invasive procedures may be sufficient for reducing the look of the scar. In other cases, more elaborate surgical procedures and wound-closing techniques may be necessary to produce the best possible results.
Complexities of Revision Surgery
Revision surgery is often much more complex than the initial procedure. One reason is because it is likely scar tissue has formed in the area, which is more difficult to work with than your natural skin and tissue. Another problem, which is commonly found with rhinoplasty, is that there is not enough tissue or cartilage left to work with, requiring some type of graft to get the material necessary to make the correction.
Patients that have not received desirable results from an initial procedure may be hesitant to pursue additional surgery to correct the issue. They may be emotionally scarred as well as physically scarred from their experience. It takes a very special relationship with another surgeon to build the patient’s confidence back up so they are willing to undergo a subsequent procedure.
Choosing a Surgeon for Your Revision Surgery
If you have decided revision surgery is necessary to achieve your aesthetic goals, it is important to choose your revision surgeon with great care. Look for a surgeon that is experienced in revision procedures, since these are often performed in a different fashion than the original plastic surgery. Ask about the surgeon’s level of experience and training in the particular procedure you want. Request “before” and “after” photos of previous patients so you can get a better idea of the work this particular surgeon does. It will also give you a more realistic idea of what you can expect from the outcome of your own procedure.
Look for a surgeon that is willing to listen to all of your concerns and discuss the outcome you would like to see. Ask about the specific techniques the surgeon will use and what you can expect during and after your procedure. Find out how long the recovery process will be for your second surgery, so you give your results sufficient time to develop.
Revision plastic surgery is never a first choice for patients, but it can be a good option if you are not satisfied with your initial procedure. Our surgeons understand the challenges facing patients in this situation and will work with you to help you achieve the results you were looking for. To learn more about what you can expect from revision surgery, contact the New York Group for Plastic Surgery at one of our four locations: New York City, 888-912-1279 or Tarrytown, 914-366-6139.