Video: Dr. Carlin Vickery on Listening to Patients

Plastic Surgeon in New York, Dr. Carlin Vickery explains how important it is to listen to your patients before they undergo treatment.


You’re listening to Dr. Carlin Vickery from 5th Avenue Millennium Surgery. Well, when I do a consult, I ask all the questions myself. I actually don’t hand them a piece of paper, even about their past medical history because I find that patients are more forthcoming and remember better when we actually have a conversation about their past. Then they are simply filling out a form. As they describe what it is that they want, I am able to get a much better sense by listening to how they describe it to exactly what it is they are trying to achieve so that I really get a sense as to what their expectations are. The biggest risk in plastic surgery is when a patient does not have the opportunity or does not take the opportunity to fully describe what it is they are hoping to achieve. If you look at dissatisfaction post-operatively with patients, it is because of the fact that there has been a miscommunication between the patient and the physician about expectations. The analogy that I like to use is, if you’re having your living room redone and you say “well I want my walls to be blue” that you need to be very specific as to what shade of blue you are looking for because the designer may have one shade in their head and you can have another shade in your head. The only way that I have successfully been able to do that is to speak directly to the patient myself, watch how they describe what it is that they want, and to cue them and ask more questions so that they are fully forthcoming. If I get the feeling that they are not giving me enough information, then frankly that’s a red flag. If I can’t cue them into being more forthcoming then there isn’t really any way that I can be sure that doing surgery is going to satisfy what it is that they’re are looking for. That is risky for both of us. The last thing you want is a patient who is unhappy. So that really boils down to communicating. The patient needs to be forthcoming and the doctor needs to listen. That is what I am after in that consultation. Visit us on the web at

Categories: New York Plastic Surgery Blog