Patients commonly ask, “when will I have my final result?” The real answer to that question, as to a lot of good and reasonable questions is, I don’t know. A reasonable guess, however, is you can usually see an “early final” result at 6 weeks and then a “late final” result at 6 months. Noses, however, may not mature to the “final” result until many months later. See the September Case of the Month for a great illustration of the phenomenon. So, when I say there is swelling, it is not just an excuse. It’s really true.
You may have noticed I have been putting final result in quotes. That is because for most operations, there really is no such thing as a final result. It is always changing as time marches on. Aging happens and is better than the alternative, gravity always wins, and implanted devices are just fancy tires that fail. I do see more and more redo surgeries who were operated upon by other surgeons in the past. I know my own patients are out there as well. The trick is to offer operations that have the best chance of providing a good value in the short term and a durable result in the long term. As a general statement with sure exceptions, two operations that tend to stand up well over time are brow lifts (the brow becomes adherent to the broad frontal bone of the forehead) and noses (see above).
Should this concept of an ever changing result scare you away from the Plastic Surgeon? No, I just think it is part of the full consent process and patients are happy when they get what they expect. Ultimately, the same decisions that lead a patient to an initial surgery may lead him or her to decide some day that it is time for a tune up.
Mark D. Wigod, MD, FACS, providing Cosmetic and Reconstructive Plastic Surgery to Boise, Meridian, Treasure Valley and Southeastern Idaho.