As aesthetic practitioners, we are all aware that facial rejuvenation treatments include surgical options as well as non-surgical options. Most patients want to look fresh and less tired, and a thorough consultation will of course determine the most suitable approach to treatment. Although there are variations in the results that can be achieved with surgical and non-surgical options, many practitioners, such as myself, believe that a combined, holistic treatment approach can produce superior results.
From facials to facelifts
In 2014, my staff and I performed an audit of patients who attended our practice during the whole of 2013. I run a surgical and a non-surgical practice, so we considered these as two separate modalities. We looked at all our appointments over a calendar year and determined the crossover rate of treatment modality in patients who had more than three treatment appointments. These had to include at least two non-surgical appointments and one appointment for a surgical procedure. We found that 22% of patients who started off having non-surgical treatments subsequently underwent surgery, and that 80% of patients who started off having a surgical procedure subsequently underwent multiple nonsurgical treatments.
The patients who began by having nonsurgical treatments waited, on average, 18 months before they underwent a surgical procedure, and the patients who started off with surgery waited, on average, only four months before undergoing multiple nonsurgical procedures.
The study had its limitations; the most significant was the fact that practitioners from other clinics referred a number of non-surgical patients to me for surgery. The patients then returned to their non-surgical practitioners for continued treatments after surgery, meaning that the 80% figure may be significantly higher.
While there are some things that surgery will do that cannot be achieved through non-surgical treatments, there are many treatments that are best performed non-surgically
These results clearly suggest that there is a noteworthy crossover between surgical and non-surgical treatments, further supporting my view that there is a need for more combination procedures. In my opinion, surgeons and non-surgical aesthetic practitioners should work together to recognise how their work can be complemented by the alternative treatment method, and produce enhanced results for all our patients. Although there is some crossover in what each of the two different techniques can obtain, there is a wide variation in indication for different modalities of treatment. As such, I have detailed the considerations to bear in mind during your patient’s aesthetic journey.
Many patients tell us that when they look in the mirror, they don’t see a reflection of someone who has the life, vitality, energy and freshness that they feel within themselves. Most patients who come in with these concerns are, therefore, looking for aesthetic treatments that will help them achieve those aims; they want to look as fresh on the outside as they feel on the inside.
When these patients attend our clinics, we should start with a thorough and in-depth consultation to assess the patient’s wants and needs. In my opinion, the aesthetic consultation needs to follow a specific order:
- Discussion of treatment plan
- Delivery of treatment
- Follow up
- What do you not like about yourself?
- What is it you’re hoping to achieve?
By asking these questions, and subsequently examining the patient, we can establish the starting point for treatment and formulate a plan that takes the patient from where they are currently, to where they want to be.
The treatment plan
Once you are confident that you understand your patient’s requests and have discussed appropriate options with them, it’s time to examine the patient and agree on an appropriate treatment plan.