Cancelled plastic surgery is something that we all try to avoid. When we have to cancel plastic surgery for patients, or when they cancel, it is always a disappointment for both sides. I really gear up for the surgeries that I have each day. I prepare and consciously and unconsciously think about them, just like an athlete training for a race. I frequently will dream about the patient and their problem, particularly if it is a difficult one. This is the honest truth.

Cancelled plastic surgeries for medical reasons can happen. The reason for the cancellation include: Medical conditions such as blood pressure that is not controlled optimally before the surgery; blood-thinners that pose a risk of bleeding and hematoma post-op. We want the conditions to be optimal. We want a platform for success built by our pre-operative planning and compliance with pre-operative instructions.

We had to cancel plastic surgery for a male patient recently because he presented to the surgery center without taking his blood pressure medicine for 2 days and his pressure was very high. Not a good situation to start surgery. We had to cancel plastic surgery for  a different patient recently because she was wheezing, had run out of her asthma meds, and was not in control.

Recently, I had a patient cancel her facelift surgery one week prior. She left a message with our coordinator. I had consulted with her over two hours on our analysis and plan. We called her, sent her a letter, and left phone messages. She called back once and said she wanted to talk to me, and when I called her, she never called back with a response. I am clueless as to why this patient lost faith in me? She probably had second thoughts that she couldn’t express? Did she find another surgeon? I am baffled, and frankly very hurt.

The fact of the matter is, most surgeons are happy when a patient cancels, they have a little more free time that day, to do rounds, to answer email, to see other patients. Me, I am not happy. I try to do everything in my power to avoid cancelled plastic surgery.