Paging Dr. Welby

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How important is bedside manner in a plastic surgeon?

Paging Dr. Welby

He's all smiles, but is that because he cares about you or because he gave himself lip injections? While Patch Adams may have cured patients with humor and understanding, you don't want the Joker as played by Jack Nicholson for a plastic surgeon. You want to be treated with courtesy and respect, but your cosmetic surgeon is not meant to be your therapist or your best friend.

You're choosing a cosmetic surgeon who can perform the best procedure, who puts your interests first. Usually, that means canning the chatter and the golf stories in favor of telling you that you don't need breast enlargement because Pam Anderson would even say it's too much. We've known surgeons who don't make chitchat with patients, but who are absolutely straightforward in assessing the benefits, risks and costs of plastic surgery. If you do find a personable cosmetic surgeon who doesn't make you feel like just another number, great. But we rate other facts higher than the ability to make you smile:

  • Does the cosmetic surgeon run over with surgical appointments because she's determined to get the procedure right the first time?
  • Does he keep you waiting because she's still explaining to that teenager and her parents why she doesn't need liposuction?
  • Has she answered all your questions and do you feel comfortable with the procedure itself?
  • Is he willing to tell you that you don't need a tummy tuck and to suggest alternatives?
  • Is she efficient and professional?

This isn't to say that plastic surgeons should be rude, or try to hustle you into procedures you don't want, or treat you condescendingly. But if you want to spend time listening to a plastic surgeon talk, watch "Dr. 90210" or "Nip/Tuck." Then have your cosmetic surgeon spend less time talking so she can concentrate on what you're paying her to do--namely, make you look and feel fabulous.

   

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