Cosmetic Surgery: 5 Things to Consider

Cosmetic Surgery: 5 Things to Consider

Thinking about a cosmetic procedure? Take these factors into account before you make your decision.

If there’s something about your appearance that you’d like to change, cosmetic surgery could be an option. But before making a decision, think things through to avoid expensive, permanent mistakes.

Cosmetic surgery includes many procedures:

* Tummy tuck, or abdominoplasty. Removes excess fat and skin and sometimes restores weak muscles to flatten the abdomen.
* Breast enlargement, or breast augmentation. Uses implants to increase size, fullness, or projection of your breasts.
* Injectable fillers. Adds fullness to creased or sunken skin.
* Skin resurfacing. Removes scars, fine wrinkles, or blemishes with a scalpel (dermabrasion), laser, or chemical peel.
* Otoplasty. Reshapes ears or reduces their size.
* Facelift, or rhytidectomy. Removes fat, reduces sagging skin, and tightens facial tissue.
* Liposuction. Slims or reshapes different parts of the body by removing fat deposits and changing body contours.
* Rhinoplasty. Reshapes the nose or reduces its size.

Things to consider before cosmetic surgery

1. Your reasons for cosmetic surgery
Changing your look may help you feel better about yourself and boost your confidence, or it may not. It’s important to have realistic expectations. Don’t count on cosmetic surgery to help relieve depression, cope with the loss of a loved one, or overcome the emotional scars of a divorce.
2. The risk of disappointment
Cosmetic surgery may not change your appearance that much or it may change your look more than you expected. To reduce the risk of dissatisfaction, talk with your doctor. Set clear goals before the procedure.
3. The risks of surgery
All surgeries come with risks. Possible complications of cosmetic surgery include:
* Infection
* Swelling
* Bruising
* Numbness or pain after surgery
* Bleeding during or after surgery
* Problems with anesthesia, such as nausea or allergic reaction
* Blood clot in the lung, called pulmonary embolism
4. The cost
Cosmetic surgery can be costly and it’s generally considered elective. This means that most cosmetic procedures are not covered by health insurance. Check your policy to find out exactly what’s covered and what’s not.
5. The time
Your recovery can take from one day to a month or more. Make sure you fully understand what’s involved in the recovery process before you have surgery.

Find out how long the results of surgery will last. Some are good for a lifetime, while others may last only a few months. Sometimes you may need more than one surgery to get your desired look. Or, you may need surgery in the future to maintain results. For example, breast implants may need to be replaced after a certain amount of time.

What to ask your doctor
When you first meet with a cosmetic surgeon, come prepared. Ask the following questions:

* What type of cosmetic surgery would you recommend for me?
* Are there treatment options for me other than cosmetic surgery?
* What results can I realistically expect from cosmetic surgery?
* Will I need more than one surgery?
* What are the possible risks and complications of surgery?
* Do you specialize in the procedure that you recommend? How many of these procedures have you performed? Have you and your patients been satisfied with the results? Could you advise me of both your success and complication rates?
* What is your training and specialty? Are you certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery?
* What will my treatment cost?
* How long will it take me to recover from surgery? What can I expect during the recovery process? Do I need to avoid or limit any activities? When can I return to work after the surgery?

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