Allaying patient anxiety and managing patient fears and expectations are critical aspects of practicing dermatological medicine. While physicians logically focus on long-term results, it is not uncommon for patients to be concerned about, even preoccupied, by the immediate post-treatment or postoperative appearance of a wound or reconstruction. Patients with severe acne, psoriasis, or melanoma can be particularly impacted by the social stigma that their conditions can cause. Such factors require that dermatologists remain sensitive to the emotional, non-physical concerns of their patients.
Managing the expectations of cosmetic patients, in particular, is a familiar topic within the dermatologist community. Expectations of immediate or unrealistic results following facelifts, laser treatments, or botox injections must be addressed early in the physician/patient consultation. In some cases, dermatologists may suspect that psychological problems – such as an inability to emotionally deal with aging – are at the root of patient expectations. Under these circumstances it may be necessary to involve mental health services before conducting the physical procedure requested. With patient education and expectations managed properly, the dermatologist is far more likely to have satisfied patients.