PSH: How do you deal with unrealistic patient expectations – ie. if they want results you know will not be achieved? How often do you say “no”?
Dr Hanikeri: That’s a good question. Managing patient expectations is an important part of Plastic Surgery. Assessing those patients who are seeking a result that is impossible is essential to avoid disappointment and prevent surgeon angst. Many patients with unrealistic expectations have body dysmorphic syndrome and are unlikely to ever be happy with the results from their surgery. Often the mark of a good surgeon is not those who you choose to operate on but those who you choose not to operate on. I generally decline to operate on around 1 in 25 cosmetic patients. That is quite hard too as many do not realise their expectations are unrealistic. I try to be very clinical and in some cases will say that I may not have the skills to deliver what they want and they should consider seeing someone else. Occasionally, I will tell patients that I believe they have BDD and I am not prepared to operate on them unless they have seen a clinical psychologist first.
PSH: How many patients do you see who have self-esteem issues that you worry might never be fixed no matter how much plastic surgery they might have? Do you feel you have to be somewhat of a psychologist as well?
Dr Hanikeri: This is related to the first question. Self esteem issues are not uncommon in cosmetic patients but the vast majority will have issues that can be addressed by surgery and their confidence improves when the issue they present with has been addressed. If I believe their concerns are excessive for the degree of “anatomic derangement” then they probably have BDD and I wouldn’t proceed in most cases. I am not a psychologist but I do think I am quite intuitive. If I feel uneasy about proceeding with surgery after a consultation, I usually refer these patients to a clinical psychologist and most do not come back. I’m sure many see other surgeons who may offer them what they want.
PSH: In your experience, what is a patient’s greatest concern when they are considering plastic surgery? What are they most worried about and what do you most find yourself reassuring your patients of?
Dr Hanikeri: I guess the commonest concern most have is whether they will be okay and get a result they are happy with. In most cases, I try to reassure them that whilst all procedures have risk, we take every precaution to minimise risks and complications. I also try to help them see that good results are the norm and the risk they are taking will be worth it in the end.
PSH: What are your most requested surgical procedures, for women and men?
Dr Hanikeri: For women, it’s definitely breast augmentation, though breast reduction, lift and tummy tuck are also quite common. In men, cosmetic procedures are not as common but I think the commonest request is for eyelid surgery. Liposuction and tummy tuck are also common requests.
PSH: What’s the most unusual procedure you’ve ever been asked to perform? Did you do it?
Dr Hanikeri: I think scrotal reduction is probably right up there. At the time, I had never seen anyone that wanted this but soon after, I attended a conference where it was one of the procedures discussed. I didn’t go ahead with it at the time but I think I would now.
PSH: What are the biggest boobs you’ve ever implanted into anyone?
Dr Hanikeri: I’m generally pretty conservative. I have had one patient who wanted 650cc implants. She already had 500cc implants in so it wasn’t a huge jump. Most of my patients have implants between 325cc and 430cc.
PSH: Because your job is enhancing people’s appearance, do you often find yourself looking at everyday people in the street thinking they’d look better if only that had “this” done or “that” done?
Dr Hanikeri: That is so common. It’s a real challenge to not do it sometimes. I am often getting in trouble with my wife for suggesting people we meet could be “enhanced surgically”.
PSH: What is your opinion on the Kardashians and their constant body contouring and transformations? How often do you get patients asking to look like a particular celebrity?
Dr Hanikeri: Call me old fashioned but I don’t have any time and very little opinion of the Kardashians. I just don’t get it! I think many people are so disappointed with their own lives that they live their lives vicariously through celebrities like the Kardashians. It is sad when you see the gifted people on some of the reality TV talent shows who will never be famous and yet celebs like the K’s can literally buy their fame with no talent whatsoever. Personally I don’t like to encourage the celebrity culture so whilst I will use photos that patients show me to help guide my decision, I don’t say that I will make them look like someone else. I am absolutely positive that in the future we will see a mass of people regretting their decision to have their butts enhanced with fat grafting. Many of these women will gain weight over the next decade or two and I am sure if they do, some will not be able to fit into a normal chair!
PSH: What’s the age of the youngest patient you’ve ever performed a plastic procedure on, and also the oldest, and what procedure/s did they have?
Dr Hanikeri: Excluding ear setback surgery which I do in little kids, I have performed breast reduction in a 13 year old. I have also performed a facelift in a woman in her eighties which I was reluctant to do but she was generally pretty good and very keen to proceed. Thankfully all went very well.
PSH: What’s one thing you wish you could shout from the rooftops to plastic surgery patients?
Dr Hanikeri: I don’t think there is one message that applies to all patients. I think that for patients who have made the decision to proceed with cosmetic plastic surgery, that I I would love for them to just relax and enjoy the experience. That in the vast majority of cases, they will not be disappointed that they did it.
If you’d like more information on Dr Mark Hanikeri, check out the blogs below, or to arrange a consult with him phone (08) 9380 0311.
Body Contouring Options with Dr Mark Hanikeri
Issues with Big Boobs – Dr Hanikeri discusses how a breast reduction can help
Katie’s Trifecta – my tummy tuck, thigh lift and lipo surgery with Dr Mark Hanikeri
The Mummy Makeover – more popular than ever