Treating a patient with a medical aesthetic intervention
How do you justify your decision to treat a patient with a medical aesthetic intervention?
If you want to know the secrets to great job satisfaction, maintaining a loyal client base, and even (gentle) ways to rid yourself of patients that you do not want to treat, then read on as Dr Tim Pearce will give you all the tips you need to become a successful aesthetic clinician and business owner, and shhh…tip number one, it all starts with your medical aesthetic consultation.
In this blog, Dr Tim will explore why it is easy for aesthetic clinicians to get caught up in mastering their injection techniques and understanding in-depth facial anatomy, whilst forgetting about the patient sat in front of them and their psycho-social wellbeing when justifying their reasons for any cosmetic intervention.
Dr Tim will be discussing more medical aesthetic training tips as part of his upcoming webinar series, so if you’re looking to increase your CPD-certified learning and want to learn more skills to make you a better practitioner, then step one is to register for the free webinars by Dr Tim
Justifying medical aesthetic treatments
When you are treating a patient with medical aesthetic treatments – which are generally elective – you are putting a case forward which states that you are doing the procedures ‘in the patient’s best interest’.
If you get that decision wrong, and neither you, nor the patient are ultimately happy with the outcome this can create friction in your relationship. Longer term this can cause you to question your career choice and lose your drive to succeed in aesthetic medicine.
The difference of opinion, between you and your patient, may be based on the expectations of treatment which leads both of you to question the justification for embarking on the procedure(s) in the first place – did you really make an ethical choice? Sometimes there is no justification for treating, at all, and you must learn how to say no to some patients.
Building a hierarchy of justification to the God of Aesthetics
In aesthetic medicine, there are various justifications that we can use to perform aesthetic procedures on our patients, and these justifications sit in a hierarchy.
Getting all your ducks in a row, or your justifications aligned in your hierarchy of importance will lead to a successful career as an aesthetic clinician – do not over worship the small Gods and forget the most important God of all, we are coming to that!
Technical skills alone are not enough to thrive as an aesthetic practitioner so you must not spend all your time in devotion to simply learning and mastering multiple and complex injection techniques. All this learning is truly warranted, but not at the expense of other skills that you need, and which will help you grow and excel in the specialty. The God of injection technique is a small God.
Many practitioners starting out in aesthetic medicine believe that they can justify their decisions to treat by knowing all the techniques and having a good understanding of facial anatomy, so they are able to treat patients safely. They go on to begin to justify their treatments by learning about the aesthetic rules in relation to ratios and facial proportions, as well as the foundations of beauty and what makes us beautiful. As clinicians progress, they become more aware of evidence-based practice and many will start to justify their treatments based on clinical data, or a recently published paper, alone.
Like the God of injection techniques, the God of anatomy understanding, the God of aesthetic rules, and the God of evidence-based practice all provide justification as part of a hierarchy of smaller Gods, but they all lead to the real God of Aesthetics and your goal for justification.
All these components of the hierarchy of justification represent the layers to help aesthetic clinicians to justify the treatments they provide, but they are no good when used alone or in isolation. It is important to align everything your do (all your smaller Gods) into one common goal and use that to justify your actions to the God of Aesthetics.
The bottom line to justifying all your cosmetic interventions, beyond the aesthetic idea, is to worship the main God, and that is your PATIENT.
Your patient and their health is the God of Aesthetics
As healthcare practitioners, we must justify everything we do by the effect it will have on our patient’s health. In aesthetics, we are dealing with healthy patients who are seeking elective treatments, this carries a risk. You need to be able to justify the risk of an intervention in an otherwise healthy individual. We achieve this by evaluating the psycho-social status of our patient – how do they feel, and how do their feelings affect their behaviour?
The health of your patient is the highest God of Aesthetics – this is who you should be worshipping so you can offer patient-centred care.
Understand your patients, the changes they are seeking to the way they feel every day and the differences they want to see in their lives. You can then apply appropriate treatments and techniques to the person, the patient sat in front of you, instead of trying to make everything you have learnt fit all your patients alike – learn to truly individualise your treatments.
This approach also allows you to delicately refuse treatment to those patients who you do not believe you can help to achieve the difference they are seeking in their lives – most obviously noted in cases of body dysmorphia where satisfaction is rarely ever achieved.
Patients will ultimately be grateful if you honestly let them know that you believe that you cannot meet their expectations and give them the life-affirming changes they seek, instead of simply going ahead with a cosmetic enhancement which in the long term will leave both parties unhappy and unsatisfied.
Remember, everything you do is justified by your patient’s best interests.
How to perform a good medical aesthetic consultation
It all starts with the consultation. This is where you can get to the bottom of what your patient is really looking to achieve. They often do not know what that is until you ask them, and you get beyond simply talking about the treatment they have come to ‘buy’ from you.
You need to get to the crux of their feelings and desires and understand when and why they find themselves imagining feeling different, whether consciously or not, and how being able to achieve that feeling (through the cosmetic interventions you can provide) will alter their behaviour, how they feel about themselves and their life. If you can genuinely free a patient from a concern which is holding them back, or empower them to help them to live a different life, through the outcomes of your aesthetic treatments, then you will augment the therapeutic benefits of your treatment and justification is yours.
Aligning all your Gods in your hierarchy of justification will bring you ultimate success – techniques, anatomy, beauty ideals, evidence-based practice – will all help you to achieve your goal, but you must worship at the God of your patient and perform treatments that are in their best interest to free them from conflicts or concerns and truly augment their psycho-social wellbeing.
Aesthetics Mastery Show
The Real Secret to Success in Medical Aesthetics
See our recent Aesthetics Mastery show, where Dr Tim and Miranda Pearce discuss how it’s easy to get caught up in the pursuit of injection technique mastery, and conquering anatomy and the aesthetic rules, then forget that there is a higher ‘God’ of aesthetics…
“If you align all your work, from marketing, to the consultation, to your training to the treatments you provide… success awaits.”
Dr Tim argues for a hierarchy of intervention justifications, and suggests that those clinicians who get everything aligned stand to gain job satisfaction, business success, and the ultimate prize: truly impacting their patients’ lives..
Are you still anxious about delivering cosmetic injectables safely?
If you want to learn more about mastering medical aesthetic treatments and complications or conquering the anxiety of where to place your needle, then register for the next Dr Tim webinar.
Dr Tim Pearce eLearning
Dr Tim Pearce MBChB BSc (Hons) MRCGP founded his eLearning concept in 2017 in order to provide readily accessible BOTOX® and dermal filler online courses for fellow Medical Aesthetics practitioners. His objective was to raise standards within the industry – a principle which remains just as relevant today.
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