Breaking up is hard to do, and sometimes, your plastic surgeon may be the one to do it. What should you do?

In general, doctors are pretty reluctant to terminate the doctor-patient relationship. Usually, the patient doesn’t follow instructions, doesn’t show up for appointments, and can be antagonistic to the doctor and the office staff. If this happens, then the doctor has the right to end the relationship, just like the patient has the right to end the relationship.

If this happens to you, you may have to confront some unpleasant truths. You probably understand that it’s your responsibility to show up for appointments, be reliable and responsible about after care instructions, take your medications as directed, and keep open lines of communication with your plastic surgeon and his staff.

It’s important to obtain your medical records, and your original plastic surgeon should be able to give them to you or your next plastic surgeon. You may want to retain a copy of those medical records as well.

The problem may be- you. Specifically, you may not realize how disruptive your behavior may be, or how unrealistic your demands and expectations are. If you can find another plastic surgeon quickly, then perhaps it was the relationship with your original plastic surgeon that was at fault. However, if you find it difficult to schedule any consultation with any plastic surgeon and get treatment, then you may have to realize the unpleasant truth that you may be a “difficult” patient.

Even though there aren’t a lot of plastic surgeons, I’m not a huge believer that there are conspiracies within a community to not see a certain patient. Especially in larger cities, not every plastic surgeon will know every other plastic surgeon. Besides, gossiping and exchanging information about patients may violate HIPPA laws and guidelines. In a nutshell, it’s doubtful that all of your neighboring plastic surgeons are talking about you behind your back.

Rather, your particular case, your attitude, your energy, your vibe– however you want to term it- may be of concern to any potential plastic surgeon that may want to see you. Sometimes what you want is possible, but your plastic surgeon may not want to operate on you, due to an inability to connect with you.

I’m sure you connect with your parents, kids, neighbors, co-workers, friends, and others on differing levels of depth and understanding. This holds true for the doctor-patient relationship. You need to find a good match with your plastic surgeon. Sometimes it’s not you, or your plastic surgeon- you just need a better match with a different plastic surgeon.

If you’d like some more counseling, I’m probably the wrong person to talk to. However, if you’d like to schedule a consultation, please contact Caroline, our Patient Care Coordinator. She can be reached at or 415 362 1846.


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