Lessons from Years of Experience

Is it better to find a rhinoplasty surgeon with lots of experience or one recently trained in the newest techniques?

The short answer to this question is “yes”. But, perhaps a little more explanation might be helpful.

Experience is important in all types of surgery. When we are talking about rhinoplasty, considered the most difficult of cosmetic procedures, experience is crucial. Classrooms, textbooks, virtual reality simulations and even performing those initial supervised procedures do their part in preparing a young surgeon, but they are only the beginning. It takes years of experience to learn not only how to surgically alter the nose but what will work and what will not, as well as what should not even be attempted.  

Rhinoplasty surgery begins when the potential patient sits down for that first consultation. The surgeon initially assumes the role of counselor to determine the motivation behind the request and then morphs into mind reader to be able to visualize the hoped-for outcome. Doing what is best for the patient is always paramount, and sometimes knowing when not to do surgery is key. For example, a teenager (or even an adult) wanting to look different because of difficulty in a relationship is probably not a good candidate for surgery. However, a young person being ridiculed or bullied due to an especially large or misshapen nose is at risk of serious self-esteem issues that nose surgery might help to alleviate. Being able to drill down into what is really motivating someone cannot not be taught in a seminar: it takes years of listening and interacting with patients.

Once the reason for rhinoplasty is ascertained, the next step is managing the patient’s expectations. Perhaps the most common reason for revision or repeat surgeries is not due to procedures being done poorly, but rather because of inadequate communication between surgeon and patient about what to expect. An experienced surgeon has learned how to minimize unrealistic goals and expectations. This includes healing issues and the amount of time this part of the process will take, as well as the end result as far as appearance.

The nose is the most prominent facial feature. Even the slightest error in altering the shape and appearance of the nose can have drastic effects. Obviously, experience plays a vital role before a surgeon ever makes the first incision. Mastering the actual surgical techniques is far more than learning “how” to do them. Anticipating outcomes that may result from these procedures is different for each individual surgery and simply cannot be taught: it only comes with experience.

What about more recent graduates benefitting from cutting-edge technology and new methods and procedures being taught that were not available when these surgeons with years of experience were receiving their training?

The best rhinoplasty surgeons, the ones with highly-developed skills and an abundance of experience, will be totally up-to-date on the latest developments in their field. They will regularly attend conferences and seminars and consistently incorporate the most effective methods into their practice. The answer to the question above is that you should never choose between years of experience and training in up-to-date methods — always demand both.

You could not make a better decision than to request a consultation with Dr. Tobias. Experienced, board-certified and dedicated, Dr. Geoffrey Tobias was recognized 12 times as “best in his field” by New York Magazine.  His most important recognition was his election as a president to The Rhinoplasty Society in 2015. This group of internationally recognized academic surgeons is dedicated to research, teaching, and developing new cutting-edge techniques in the field of rhinoplasty. When you need a highly skilled and experienced rhinoplasty surgeon, To start that process, simply click here.  

Posted in: Rhinoplasty

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