Chicago, IL — According to recent statistics from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), cosmetic procedures such as breast enhancement with breast implants and BOTOX® Cosmetic have risen in demand by five percent to over 13.8 million performed in 2010. A similar study from the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery reports that over half of all Americans now approve of aesthetic enhancements, confirming a growing emphasis on youthful beauty and a slim figure. As more patients continue to express interest in cosmetic surgical and nonsurgical procedures, Dr. Brian Braithwaite, a plastic surgeon in Chicago, says the need for improved doctor-patient communication also increases. Dr. Braithwaite says patients should be sure to cover some essential procedural details with their plastic surgeon during a series of thorough consultations.
At their Chicago plastic surgery practice, Dr. Braithwaite and Dr. Lorri Cobbins focus on a wide variety of cosmetic enhancements ranging from tummy tucks and liposuction to injectable fillers and the comprehensive mommy makeover. Dr. Braithwaite says he often sees patients for several appointments before their actual procedure in order to alleviate any fears or anxieties concerning treatment, as well as to ensure both he and his patients are on the same page about their aesthetic goals. Because it has become such a burgeoning industry, Dr. Braithwaite says he is quick to warn his patients about the dangers of “fad” plastic surgery by taking the time to dispel any myths that may arise during these consultations.
In addition to debunking myths and getting to know her patients, Dr. Cobbins says the initial consultation and the pre-operative consultation, typically held 10 to 14 days prior to surgery, provide a good opportunity to discuss procedural details and recovery expectations. She says some of the most common patient concerns include the amount of time required to perform a surgical procedure, the recovery period, what types of physical limitations may be present after surgery, and when exercise can be resumed. Dr. Cobbins says she encourages patients to use these preliminary consultations as a chance to broaden their knowledge about plastic surgery procedures and to ask any lingering questions that may be keeping them from feeling comfortable about a surgical procedure:
“Each consultation begins with asking our patient what goals he or she wishes to obtain. Using this information, we are able to formulate a unique plan that fits the desired surgical goal. From viewing before and after photos to trying on different implant sizes, our patients very much become a part of the decision-making process. In the days following the consultation, we invite an open dialogue. Scheduling a second consult, bringing in a list of questions, or showing us old photos is routinely encouraged. We also plan a pre-operative appointment approximately two weeks prior to surgery to again go over the planned procedure. We find this enhanced contact helps put patients completely at ease. The discussion that is generated from taking extra time with patients empowers them to understand the decision they are making. This also leads to increased knowledge of myth versus truth about plastic surgery, which we believe further reduces anxiety.”
Regardless of whether they are looking for a dermal filler or breast augmentation in Chicago, Drs. Braithwaite and Cobbins say patient education is an important part of the aesthetic surgery process, as it allows patients to make informed decisions that are right for their needs. As with any medical treatment, Dr. Braithwaite says he urges patients to consult with a board-certified plastic surgeon before undergoing any procedure so as to ensure the safest, most effective results are achieved. Through active, uninhibited communication with a dedicated cosmetic practice, Dr. Braithwaite says patients can experience the joys of an enhanced appearance and greater self-confidence. He adds:
“Excellent communication is a crucial aspect of good medicine, no matter what the specialty. When patients consent to a treatment, they should be completely aware of what they are signing up for. Regarding cosmetic procedures, patient expectations are higher, and thoughtful surgeons take the time to fully grasp patient expectations and ensure that patients understand the potential risks and benefits involved. At AIC, we strive to communicate the importance of patient safety as well as the degree of difficulty of each proposed procedure. Although often time-consuming, we have found no substitute for getting to know our patients well and fostering a relaxed, transparent exchange of information and ideas.”
About Brian M. Braithwaite, MD
Dr. Brian Braithwaite received his medical degree from the University of Illinois College of Medicine. He completed a residency in General Surgery at the Keesler Medical Center, as well as a plastic surgery residency at the University of Louisville. After completing his training, Dr. Braithwaite became a staff plastic surgeon at Bethesda Naval Medical Center, and eventually became the Chief of Plastic Surgery at Bethesda. He is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons.
About Lorri Cobbins, MD, FACS
A graduate of Saint Louis University School of Medicine, Dr. Lorri Cobbins completed her plastic and reconstructive surgery residency as well as a five-year residency in Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery at the University of Louisville Medical Center. She is board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, and a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Dr. Cobbins is an award-winning practitioner and has dedicated numerous hours to her continued education and volunteer work.
The Aesthetic Institute of Chicago is located at 601 West Randolph St., Chicago, IL 60661, and can be contacted at (312) 361-8108. It can also be contacted online via the website aestheticinstitutechicago.com and their Chicago Plastic Surgery Facebook page.