You’ve probably heard something along the lines of “expectations minus reality equals happiness” at some point during your life. While this might be a little oversimplified, it can be helpful when you’re trying to set your expectations in all areas of your life. Set expectations high, and the reality might disappoint you. Set them low, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the outcome.

It’s not always easy to have realistic expectations. Emotions can build up your expectations even when you know logically that they should be lower. When it comes to considering plastic surgery, it’s very important to set your expectations appropriately so that you go into surgery knowing what is possible.

Why Realistic Plastic Surgery Expectations are Crucial

Some plastic surgery procedures are permanent, while others are just long-lasting. Undergoing elective surgery is also expensive and requires that patients take time off of work and other activities. Making the decision to undergo a surgical procedure is not one to take lightly. If patients do not set their expectations properly and accept what is and isn’t possible, they may be disappointed in the outcome and the investment.

Patients who do understand the limitations of the procedure and set their goals and expectations properly are happiest with their results. They are unlikely to seek revision procedures and typically experience boosts in self-esteem and confidence. Properly setting expectations can mean the difference between satisfaction and disappointment.

What is Realistic?

Sometimes, the hardest part of setting realistic expectations is understanding what is realistic. What are the limitations of plastic surgery? It all depends on the procedure.

Experienced plastic surgeons are incredibly talented and can create dramatic improvements with just a scalpel. Let’s get one thing out of the way up front, though: the results won’t be perfect. Plastic surgery is intended to improve, not perfect. Beauty is subjective, and everyone’s view of “perfect” is slightly different. A plastic surgeon and a patient may be on the same wavelength, but variations in healing and other factors affect the final results.

How to Set Expectations

Not sure what to expect from your chosen procedure? If so, you’ll want to start by looking up some before-and-after photos. These photos will help you to understand the typical good results for the procedure. Next, you should talk with a plastic surgeon to get a more personalized view of what you can expect.

The initial consultation is an important factor in setting plastic surgery expectations because you’ll get a chance to talk to a surgeon one-on-one and ask questions. Most surgeons today also use 3D imaging to help clients get an idea of what they can expect from surgery. While this is just a preview, it can help patients to understand how the typical results from a plastic surgery procedure might look on their own face.

Be Honest with Yourself

After you’ve looked at before-and-after photos and consulted with a plastic surgeon, be honest with yourself. Are you satisfied with the typical results of the procedure? Do you think you’ll be happy with them if you move forward? Don’t schedule your surgery unless you feel sure your expectations are in line with what the surgery can deliver. You don’t want to end up disappointed.

If you’re not impressed by what’s possible with the surgery you selected, don’t give up hope. Your surgeon might be able to suggest an alternative treatment plan to meet your needs. Talking about your goals instead of specific procedures can sometimes help your plastic surgeon recommend an appropriate option.

Discussing Your Expectations with an Expert

Not sure if your expectations are realistic? Interested in learning more about custom options for surgery? It might be time to schedule a consultation to talk with an expert. That way, you can get customized recommendations and discuss any concerns you may have.

Dr. Edward Buckingham is a renowned facial plastic surgeon in Austin, TX, who performs complex and customized procedures to meet his patients’ unique needs. Dr. Buckingham is double-board certified and focuses on delivering natural-looking results. To schedule a consultation with Dr. Buckingham and learn more about what’s possible at Buckingham Center in Austin, call 512.401.2500 today!

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