If a Surgeon Suggests What He Wants to Do, Can You Say "No I Want to Do This"?

I recently spoke to a wonderful plastic surgeon. I showed him my concerns, and then he suggested I would benefit from a "cheek lift and fat injections". I totally agree with the "cheek lift" part, but do not want fat injections. I am interested in cheek implants and a cheek lift. Do you think that most plastic surgeons can work with what YOU prefer and have more than one option in their mind?, and are ok with that?

Doctor Answers 17

Is Your Choice a Viable Alternative?

Yes, as long as what you want to have done is also a viable alternative.  In your case, I happen to agree with your decision to go with cheek implants over fat injections as the implants are more reliable and give permanent results.

Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 25 reviews

You have the right to say NO

You’re absolutely right, you should be able to say “no I don’t want to do this” with your surgeon.
Your surgeon should really listen to your concerns and understand on the appearance you are trying to achieve.

If its maybe sensible to do a consultation with another surgeon to discuss the best way forward for you.

Adrian Richards, MD
London Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 150 reviews

Suggestions From Your Plastic Surgeon


A great plastic surgeon will have excellent communication with you, and be able to tailor the procedure to best suit your needs while obtaining the best results possible. Your surgeon may suggest things that he/she feels may benefit you, and allow you to achieve optimal results. But ultimately, the final decision is up to you, and it is essential you discuss all of your needs and concerns with your surgeon prior to having any work performed. Thank you, and I hope this helps.

Dr. Nassif

Paul S. Nassif, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 47 reviews

Following the doctor's advice

The discussion between a patient and a doctor is a very important one.

The doctor's recommendations are based on many years of experience.

Patients' desires may be based on a single article or anecdote.

So discuss carefully with your surgeon beforehand, try to see their rationale without being bound by preconceived opinions before proceeding.  It also doesn't hurt to talk to several top surgeons.  If you hear a similar plan over and over again, this also is worth noting.  You may find the more opinions you get, the more confusing the issue!  The more knowledge, however, the better.

If a patient chooses a treatment plan they are committed to following, and they do not follow the advice of their doctor, they must bear the responsibility for the outcome.

Brent Moelleken, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 178 reviews

Cheek Implants

In order for a patient to be happy, the surgeon must address the patient's concerns. I start every conversation asking the patient their reason for visiting me and my job is to recommend the treatment options which will best address the patient's specific concerns. There may be several options to achieve improvement. It is the surgeon's job to determine which of these treatments would be the best for the patient based on their facial structure, elasticity of the skin, etc.  A successful surgery is when the patient is happy with their outcome. IF you like your surgeon, schedule a second appointment. Education is the key!

Michael Sullivan, MD
Columbus Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 88 reviews

Communicating with your surgeon

It is important to have a good dialogue and to trust your surgeon. It is important to tell the surgeon what is bothering you and your surgeon will give you a list of suggestions to accomplish that goal.  

William Portuese, MD
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 145 reviews

Can you say "no" to your surgeon

The purpose of the consultation is to find out what concerns the patient has and to get to know each other. Are the concerns realistic, can they be corrected with acceptabel risks. The surgeon will never want to do something that the patient has no concerns about. Conversely the surgeon should not do anyhting that the patient wants if those requests are unrealistic or unachievable. In the great majority of the cases patient and doctor come to a mutually satisfactory agreement what the best course of treatment should be.

Andrew Pichler, MD
Sacramento Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 3 reviews

Different Patient Expectations & Surgeons Recommendations - WHAT TO DO ?

All surgery and in particular Cosmetic surgery, is a doctor patient interaction & collaboration.

You need to explain what you want to achieve.  Your plastic surgeon will then explain your options and recommend what they feel would be best for you.

Your request may be well founded or simply not feasible.  Just because you request a procedure, this does not imply that your surgeon will abide by it.

It might be:

  • unsafe,
  • the wrong procedure for you or
  • the surgeon may not be competent doing that particular procedure.

That said, you on the other hand are not obliged to undergo all the procedures recommended.  This is where you need to convey your concerns / reluctance / disagreement to your surgeon. 

You need to ask if:

  • all of the recommendations are necessary or not,
  • what are the potential short falls of not doing everything,
  • what are the risks of doing everything,
  • whether some portions can be carried out at a later date,
  • and most importantly, whether he is willing to only do some of his suggestions.

If he is not, ask why.

If your surgeon is still unwilling to listen to you:

Obtain a second (third / fourth) opinion from another plastic surgeon that is competent in doing fat grafts & cheek implants.

Dr. Carlos Cordoba
Plastic & Esthetic Surgeon
4055 Ste-Catherine O. Suite 100
Montreal, QC. Canada H3Z 3J8

Carlos Cordoba, MD
Montreal Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 19 reviews

Patient-doctor difference of opinion--get explanation or second opinion!

Plastic surgery is a patient-doctor collaboration from start to finish. You need to express your concerns and wishes, and your doctor will explain your options and recommendations. Some will explain more than others; some may "cut to the chase" and just give you their "best recommendation." These days, patients are doing research, talking to friends, and reading about plastic surgery options virtually everywhere. Rare is the patient that does not come with "preconceived notions" that may be right on target, way off base, or somewhere in between!

Sometimes when a surgeon offers an option different than your (appropriate) request, you may need to "read between the lines" and understand that he or she may not be experienced in cheek implants, for example, but very comfortable with fat grafting. Fat grafting and cheek implants can both provide additional bulk to the cheekbone area, but are quite different and have differing risks, concerns, and pros/cons. Talk to your doctor and ask for more explanation! If there is still a concern, get a second (or third) opinion from an experienced board-certified plastic surgeon or facial plastic surgeon (ENT) who do both fat grafts AND cheek implants.

Richard H. Tholen, MD, FACS
Minneapolis Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 255 reviews

Plastic surgeons doing what you want

You should never have anything done on you that you do not want. That said, what you may want to have done should only be done if it can be done safely and effectively. If a plastic surgeon will not do a procedure that you want, you should fully understand the reasons why. You should seek multiple opinions. Just be sure that the plastic surgeon you see is board-certified in plastic surgery, as you do not have to be a plastic surgeon to do plastic surgery, and there are physicians who will do what you want to be done regardless of how effective the treatment may be.

Gary D. Breslow, MD, FACS
Paramus Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 44 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.