Doctor, Is This Normal?

I hear this question all the time. A large part of my practice is performing secondary plastic surgery (when a patient has had a procedure before and is considering “touch ups,” improvements or corrections). I will often ask the patient, “What did your Doctor tell you about this?” and they simply answer, “They told me it is normal.”

Quite honestly, sometimes I see imperfect outcomes that I would consider “normal,” while other times I see outcomes that are clearly not “normal” or acceptable (at least by my standards).

No one can guarantee you perfect results, nor is every result perfect. So when is a result a normal and reasonable outcome? And when is it clearly not acceptable, even “botched?”

Sometimes the term “normal” is often used as an excuse for a poor outcome. Sometimes the outcome from a procedure should have been, and still could be, better than what you have experienced.

The best way to determine if your outcome is “normal” is to visit with a reputable Board Certified Plastic Surgeon and ask him/her for their opinion. You will find out if your result is “normal” and reasonable, and if not, what can be done (if anything) to make improvements.

Robert Caridi, MD