Dr Patrick Briggs is one of Western Australia’s most prominent plastic surgeons. He has patients travelling from all over Australia for his expertise. I sat down with him at the recent 40th ASAPS conference. To watch the video with Dr Briggs just click on the image.
Patient care is extremely important in developing a good reputation. What do you think patients expect when it comes to being looked after as they go through their plastic or cosmetic surgery journey?
Dr. Briggs: Well, my rule is quite simple. I treat people the way I would want to be treated. That involves … it’s involving the patient in their own care. Giving them lots of information so that they understand each part of the practise and the process that they’re going through. I believe that when you educate patients like this, they’re far more at ease when they come to the surgery and in the post operative care.
How do you tell a patient that their expectations will not meet with the reality of what is possible for their results or outcome from their surgery?
Dr Briggs: Well, of course, the consultation process is a two-way event. It’s not only the patient finding out about the surgery and finding out about whether the surgery’s for them, but it’s also about the surgeon assessing the patient’s suitability for the surgery. And that suitability can be something physical, like whether they’re a smoker or a diabetic or it can be whether they’re emotionally ready for surgery. We all know that patients who are undergoing major changes in their lives, such as divorce, moving house, et cetera, that’s not a good time to be thinking about surgery. Again, this process is two-way and involving the patient and assessing the patient is critical to a good outcome.
How do you deal with patients who are unhappy with their results?
Dr Briggs: Again, the first thing is information; keeping the patient in the loop, telling that you’re going to take care of them and that you’re going to do your very best to deal with any complication that occurs. Complications are a part of surgery and of course, if you’ve informed the patient of the risk of complications and the likelihood of those complications with figures, et cetera, if they get a complication, they’re far more likely to go with you into the reparative process.