Q&A on patient expectations for facial plastic surgery

Bruce Mast, M.D., chief of plastic and reconstructive surgery and an associate professor of surgeryMaybe you’re considering facial plastic surgery but don’t know if it’s right for you. Read this Q&A on expectations for facial plastic surgery with Bruce Mast, M.D., UF Health’s chief of plastic and reconstructive surgery and an associate professor. And of course, it’s important to discuss your own expectations and motivations for facial plastic surgery with your plastic surgeon.


Q: You discuss with potential patients their motivation for wanting facial plastic surgery. What are you looking for in those discussions?

A: What specifically is bothering them? What do they want improved? Why do they want it improved? Do they have reasonable expectations of what can be done and how it will affect them? Are their motivations appropriate and reasonable?

Q: What motivating factors seem to be most common among people seeking facial plastic surgery?

A: They want to look less tired, less angry and more refreshed.

Q: What are realistic expectations for patients to have of facial plastic surgery?

A: The surgery should improve their appearance and will likely make them feel better about themselves. This is the connection between appearance and self-esteem. But they must also realize that surgery is a serious undertaking and complications can happen. It is not to be done on a whim or spur of the moment.

Q: Is it realistic for patients to expect to look younger?

A: Yes

Q: Can you say by how much, on average?

A: It depends on the extent of the surgery. Facelift patients will have a greater change in the “aged appearance” than folks who just have their eyelids done. Usually, I tell facelift patients that they will look 5 to 10 years younger than they did before surgery.

Q: Do you ever hear from potential patients that they want to look better/younger for their jobs?

A: Yes, especially when their co-workers are younger than them.

Q: What are important things for a person to consider before deciding on facial plastic surgery?

A: Recovery time, possible complications, costs, experience of the surgeon, where the surgery is to be done and what permanent scars will result.

Q: Who are the best candidates for facial plastic surgery (age, overall health, attitude)?

A: People who are healthy and fit, don’t smoke and have good insight into what is possible and what is reasonable in terms of results and outcomes. Consultation with your surgeon is the best means of finding out if you are medically and physically fit for surgery.

Q: In what situations should a person not consider plastic surgery?

A: Patients need to be mindful of the medical advice they receive. If they are told that they are not healthy enough to have the procedure, they should avoid “doctor-shopping” to find someone who will do the surgery. That’s a setup for a disaster. Also, if the patient feels uneasy about what they are going to have done, they should think twice before proceeding. It’s OK to be nervous, but you really need to feel at ease with the whole process and those who will be caring for you. Lastly, if they think the surgery is going to change their life or save a relationship, they shouldn’t have it done.

Q: Do you ever refuse to do a procedure or turn a patient away because of an unhealthy mindset or unrealistic expectations?

A: Yes

Q: What is UF Health’s most popular elective facial plastic surgery procedure?

A: Eyelid surgery, followed by facelifts.