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Patient Stories: Ellen

Ellen knows Dr. Braun Graham both as a co-worker and as her own cosmetic physician. She has had facial rejuvenation procedures such as BOTOX® Cosmetic from the Sarasota surgeon, and she also has worked with him for years. View her story below to find out why she recommends him and all the doctors at our practice.

To meet with Dr. Graham, request a consultation at Sarasota Plastic Surgery Center or call (941) 366-8897.

I’m Ellen, and I’m an RN at Sarasota Plastic Surgery. Sarasota Plastic Surgery is such a special place to work. I’m really lucky to have a dream job. There are so many wonderful people that work here and in particular, Carrie and Lisa, the nurses, have been here for over 20 years. Jamie and I are lucky enough to have them as mentors. They have set a very high standard for patient care, and I think patients coming here recognize that and appreciate it.

Another very important part of working here and what makes it special is Dr. Graham. We all love Dr. Graham. He is a true gentleman. He treats patients and employees with respect. He’s got a great sense of humor, and, of course, he does fabulous work. I’ve been lucky enough to observe many procedures that he’s done, including surgery upstairs. It’s always amazing to see how he works, the confidence that he has, his ability to make the patients feel comfortable with the procedure, and then of course to see the amazing results that he gets and to see how happy patients are.

His patients will come for say BOTOX® and filler, and typically we would ask them, “So what are you going to have done today?” Truly 9 times out of 10, they’ll say, “Whatever Dr. Graham says I need.” That’s because they trust him to tell them what’s going to work for them and never to over-treat. I can’t tell you how many people when they find out where I work will say, “Oh my goodness, I would never have breast augmentation. I would never have a facelift or lip augmentation or BOTOX. I’ve seen these women with the windblown look,” or “I’ve seen the giant lips and all.” I say, “Well, what you don’t realize are how many people you’ve seen that have had those procedures and they were done well and you don’t even realize they’ve had anything done.” That’s the goal here is to look better and natural. Dr. Graham is certainly an expert at that.

There are so many different tools for face rejuvenation. It’s not just surgery anymore. Of course, there’s lasers and fillers and BOTOX that can all be used in conjunction, but one of the most interesting things that they’re doing here now is fat grafting. Fat grafting has been around for a while, but it’s just recently they’ve really perfected it so that the fat that they harvest from your own body lasts. It used to be that a lot of it would be reabsorbed so it would have to be repeated. It’s interesting that as we age, we lose volume in our face even if we haven’t lost any weight, which seems a little unfair, but that’s how that happens. What they do is they harvest some fat from maybe your hip or your stomach, and then they process that, and then they use it to fill the hollowed out areas that might be here or the cheeks or the forehead or the chin, these lines. It’s so natural looking. It’s just really an unbelievable procedure and especially in conjunction with surgery. It’s very, very natural looking.

Dr. Graham will customize treatment – whether it’s a facelift, a smaller surgical procedure, maybe some lasers needed to help the quality of the skin, fat grafting – and come up with what is perfect for each patient. I’ve seen patients come in here, even a close friend of mine at one time came in and scheduled an appointment with Dr. Graham for a facelift consultation. He said, “You don’t need a facelift. You need some volume, and you can do that with Sculptra® or fat grafting.” Of course, she was thrilled. She looked wonderful after it was completed, and it’s just another way or proof that Dr. Graham does what you need to have done and not more than you need to have done.

His eye, the eye of an artist, can see how these different tools fit together to give you the best result and then you pair that with his skill as a surgeon, and that’s why he ends up with such excellent results and such happy patients.

Working at Sarasota Plastic Surgery, we see so many patients come in for so many procedures, and we know that each time a patient comes in, it’s a huge, huge deal for them. It’s maybe their only time doing this. It is something that people need to think about – collect their information. They come for the consultation with Dr. Graham, who, of course, is very reassuring and just makes you feel comfortable. The next step is generally to come back for a pre-op visit. At that point, we go over the medical history, the prescriptions, the pre-op care and the post-op care, and we also do the pre-op pictures. That’s often a very scary thing for patients. It’s all of a sudden they think, “This is really happening.” We’re in a room with the door closed, the light, maybe they’re undressed or maybe they’re just having that mugshot type of picture that is overwhelming, and a lot of times that’s when they’ll say, “I’m really scared.”

I’ll ask them, “Are you nervous, are you excited?” It’s normal to be a little nervous – it’s surgery. Then they’ll say, “Have you had anything done? Who would you have do your surgery if you were …” and they need reassurance. Of course, all of our doctors are wonderful and they all have different personalities, and I’m really confident to tell them that they’re in good hands with any of the doctors. I’ve known Dr. Graham for 25 years and he’s my doctor, and of course I think he’s absolutely wonderful, but that time in that room is sometimes where people really maybe ask us things that maybe they don’t have friends that have had procedures done. They don’t have the person to talk to, and I think it’s a real close bond – maybe somewhere between a hairdresser and your bartender or whatever – that you want to talk about things, and we take the time. We really try to always have the time to talk to patients about those kinds of things.

The other big moment is the 1-day post-op visit. Maybe they’ve had facial surgery, they’ve got the big turban dressing, they’re a little drowsy. Again, they come in and we have them in a private room that they come in the back door, and oftentimes that’s when they say, “What have I done? I don’t have anybody to blame. This was my own decision.” Two weeks from now, you’ll be saying I’m so glad I had it done. I should have done it sooner.

There are moments and we prepare them for it that usually maybe 3 days into it, I think you’ve slept, you’ve kind of recovered from those first days when you’re really, really tired, then you’re feeling pretty good and you’re like a little cabin fever or something stuck inside and people can get a little depressed. We warn them about it. We tell them, “We’re here for you. Call us up. We can help you get through it.” It’s not just come in for surgery and go “See you in a week.” We’re here for them, and there are 4 of us, and we’ve got our phone voicemail, and we can take the time to talk people through some of that.

Thinking back to maybe 10 years ago, I would have never imagined that I would have ever even called up some place to have BOTOX. I think knowing, seeing it, and realizing it wasn’t something totally crazy and then seeing the fabulous results, my own crow’s feet, of course got me started with BOTOX and then you get filler and skin care, which is really important. I trust Dr. Graham to tell me what I need and also trust him not to do something that would be too much, too different. We all want to look younger. We want to look natural. We want to look better, but we don’t want to look weird, and certainly Dr. Graham doesn’t do weird. He just does pretty and natural and younger looking. I’ll be his patient as long as he’s here. I think the world of him.