This should not be construed as medical advice. I am a retired Board Certified Plastic Surgeon.In answer to question posed on Facebook about a concern that patients were not going back to their doctors or telling them about recovery issues. The poster was stressing how critical that patients not be afraid to discuss their concerns with their surgeons.
I agree, but it is not just the patient. Surgeons and staff need to empower the patient.
Hearing feedback from the patient is critical. The issue is to design a system that works. But doctors can only go so far.
Actually the surgeon and team have a role in the process to make sure the patient feels welcome to ask questions. It became part of our mantra to ask the patient at the conclusion of each module if "all of your questions had been answered?" "If you have any other questions or concerns, please call us immediately." And beyond that to call each patient the night of surgery or that next day for late cases just to make sure there were no problems or questions. We included such details on our patient instruction sheets. Bruising and Swelling After Tummy Tuck
I then took early after surgery pictures to show typical recovery, swelling, bruising, activity to show what to expect. It became a demonstration that if a patients' results were not like others, call us so we could intervene if necessary. We then learned how the process of taking the after surgery pictures could be incorporated into an education of what activities the body would permit after the operation.
The neat thing that happened over the years, we got fewer and fewer calls. Then I added that question to our ballet of video discussion after surgery for a time. The answer was that they did not have any questions.
But this speaks to the issue of why do not more doctors show the path taken between the surgery and recovery? It can be a powerful tool documenting bruising, swelling, comfort, and what to expect.
Yet no system is perfect. Any system depends on the patient being willing to call and let the doctor know what is happening. This happened occasionally when we saw a patient in the office after surgery that had a problem, but did not call. "I did not want to bother you." It is so frustrating to work so hard to ask them to call, they experience something not typical, and the doctor has to wait until the patient is seen to learn about it! This happened rarely, but it did happen.
Hope this helps,
Michael Bermant, MDLearn More About Plastic Surgery