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How and When to Say “No” to Your Patients

Whether it’s surgical or non-surgical, invasive or non-invasive, all medical procedures carry a risk and have an overall effect on the patient. That is why it is so critical, even in aesthetic medicine, to ensure that your patient understands the procedure, the risks involved, the results they should expect, and everything else before getting any sort of medical treatment.

As a medical professional, it is critical to look at your patient as a whole – their face, body, mental well being, lifestyle, and overall health. When they come to you looking for an aesthetic procedure, it is important to understand exactly what they are trying to achieve and why so you can help them achieve their goals. Certain circumstances will require you, as a professional, to say “no” to your patient if you think it goes against what he or she is trying to achieve.

The Know-it-All Patient: Some patients will come in already knowing what they want, whether it’s because they had a friend that had something similar or they did their research online. It is your job as a medical provider to discuss what options you think are best and why, even if it is different than what the patient thought he or she wanted.

The Over-Treated Patient: Another example is when a patient may keep coming back for more. This is all too common in the aesthetic world. They may think that the results are not noticeable enough or they think another treatment will make them look even better. It is your job as a medical professional to advise when someone has been over-treated. Sometimes you can show a before and after picture to your patient to demonstrate the results they have already achieved so far, but if that doesn’t help, you may have to say “no” to your patient if you believe that another treatment could be damaging or detrimental to your patient.

The Never Happy Patient: A common occurrence we see is the patient that will never be happy. It’s the patient that no matter what you do, no matter the expectations that you set, they are expecting something that is just not possible. In this instance, it is okay to say “no” to the patient or potential patient because you’ll never please them.

When you tell a patient “no” it is important to explain why you are saying no. The relationship between you and your patient should be one built on trust and respect. If you are open and honest about why you recommend for or against something, your patients will tend to have more respect and trust in you. You may be surprised that by saying no, your patients will respect you more. Explain to them an alternative or why you recommend something different so they can see where you are coming from. Above everything else, it is important to put the needs and the safety of your patients first.