With cosmetic procedures becoming increasingly popular, it’s even more important for surgeons and physicians to carefully and mindfully select their patients. Some may have unrealistic expectations that could make them poor candidates for cosmetic elective procedures. An inappropriate candidate may be impossible to satisfy and may even file a baseless yet costly lawsuit against you and your practice.
The following patient selection guidelines will help your practice make the best possible judgments:
Utilize a well-planned process for patient selection
During the first visit, the doctor and office staff should address the following questions:
- Is this a corrective repair of another doctor’s work?
- Has the patient sued another doctor?
- Is the patient able to comply with post-operative instructions?
- Can the patient handle costs associated with the procedure, as well as any follow-up work?
- Will the patient be sedentary for extended periods of time the two weeks before surgery, such as taking a long flight or car trip?
Make sure expectations are realistic
Talk to your patients to determine their goals, which should be specific and realistic. For example, a patient who wants to fix a specific issue, such as excess abdominal skin after weight loss, could be a good candidate.
Explore the possibility of unhealthy motivations
A patient’s motivation for elective procedures may range from wanting to address a specific, noticeable issue to fixating on a perceived problem that isn’t noticeable to anyone else. In addition, some patients may be motivated by an unrealistic belief that cosmetic surgery will help save a relationship or career.
Look for other warning signs
Is there evidence that a patient has been doctor shopping or blames another doctor for previous treatments? Does he or she appear angry and hostile? A problematic patient may be overly demanding, or, conversely, may be overly complimentary. Does the patient seem invested in learning about elective procedures and their after-care requirements, or does he or she interrupt and have difficulty paying attention?
Screen for body dysmorphic disorder
The patient should be asked about the amount of time he or she spends each day worrying about his or her appearance issue and how much distress it causes. If, for example, it causes worry for about an hour a day and leads to avoidance of social situations, this could be evidence of body dysmorphic disorder. Studies show that as many as 15 percent of patients seeking cosmetic elective procedures have this disorder.
To further ensure that your practice has the products, equipment, training and marketing support it needs to succeed, contact Aesthetic Solutions Inc. (ASI). We would be happy to serve you and help you ensure maximum profitability.