Atypical Patients?

Occasionally I see a patient that asks about the “typical” patients seen by my practice. Easy question, difficult answer! While many aesthetic medicine practices have cut and dried protocols where patient X will get treatment protocol 1 and patient Y will get treatment protocol 2, my practice is different.

I believe that treatment should be individualized to the patient. Everyone is different, and thus must be treated differently. Although I make exceptions for teeth whitening, microdermabrasion, chemical peels, and Botox; I see approximately 95% of the patients that come to my practice personally prior to any treatment occurring. During the initial no-charge consultation several different things occur. Everyone gets wellness counseling up front.

My wellness counseling includes discussions on healthy diet, appropriate use of supplements, smoking cessation, and counseling on sunscreen use. Interesting new data published June 4, 2013 in the Annals of Internal Medicine showed that “The daily sunscreen group showed no detectable increase in skin aging after 4.5 years.” Wow! DAILY sunscreen use really works! Note the emphasis on daily use- the same study showed an increase in skin aging in the “discretionary sunscreen” group.

I screen our potential patients to ensure that their expectations are reasonable and they want to achieve a natural, younger look. Occasionally I will screen out patients that are looking for a “done up, Hollywood” look. I discuss different treatment options while ensuring the patient understands that doing nothing is always an option. Once the patient has reviewed the options and had a chance to consider different ways to treat their specific issue, we can get them scheduled for a procedure and be confident that they will see definite improvement in their area of concern.

We always schedule Botox or Xeomin patients for a two-week follow-up appointment to ensure they have achieved the desired results and “top them off” at my cost if we haven’t achieved their desired results. Dermal fillers like Radiesse, Juvederm, and Belotero give instant results, although I do recommend a follow-up appointment to assess the effects after the filler has settled in. Bladeless facelift (combination ablative and non-ablative laser resurfacing) patients return to the office during the week following the procedure to monitor the healing process as well as the results before they return for complimentary Radiesse and Juvederm dermal fillers.

Aesthetic treatments have to be individualized to each patient. It would be easy to treat each patient with the same amount of Botox, filler, or laser energy, but the cookbook approach just doesn’t work well with my “atypical” patients. It takes more work to consistently deliver our results, but I believe it’s worth it. Doing the right thing for every patient, even when it isn’t convenient, is what allows me to sleep well each night. If you haven’t visited my practice before, stop by and check us out during our Open House on July 20th!

Disclaimer: Dr Stephen Rath, MD, DABA is a board certified anesthesiologist, Air Force flight surgeon, paramedic, and pilot as well as the owner and medical director of Fusion Medical Spa located in Ruidoso, NM. He enjoys practicing atypical aesthetic medicine in an atypical community. Comments or questions? His email address is: