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19
Cosmetic surgery can help improve your
appearance, but it’s not for everyone
.
Understand the benefts, risks and
limitations before you decide to pursue
cosmetic surgery
.
Cosmetic surgery, or plastic surgery,
might seem like the easiest way to shave
years of your appearance or improve
your physique
.
If you’re not satisfed
with your appearance, cosmetic surgery
may help you not only to look better,
but also to feel better
.
As with any
surgery, though, cosmetic surgery has
risks and limitations
.
Here’s what you
need to know if you’re considering
cosmetic surgery
.
Factors to
consider
Cosmetic surgery changes your
appearance by altering parts of your body
that function normally but don
'
t look the
way you want
.
Before you proceed with
cosmetic surgery, consider
:
• Your expectations
.
Anticipate
improvement, not perfection
.
If you
expect cosmetic surgery to turn you
into a movie star, you’re bound to be
disappointed
.
Don’t count on surgery
to save a rocky relationship, gain a
promotion or improve your social life
.
• Expense
.
Cosmetic surgery isn’t
covered by most health insurance
plans
.
Te cost varies depending on
the procedure, ranging from hundreds
to thousands of dollars
.
Also consider
the cost of any follow
-
up care or
additional corrective procedures
.
• Risks
.
Dissatisfaction is possible
afer any type of cosmetic surgery
.
Surgical complications are possible,
too — including excessive bleeding or
infection at the surgical site
.
• Recovery
.
Afer cosmetic surgery, you
may need days, weeks or even months
to recover
.
Understand the physical
efects that may be part of your
recovery, as well as how the surgery
may afect aspects of your personal
and professional life
.
• Psychological changes
.
Your self
-
esteem might improve afer cosmetic
surgery, but cosmetic surgery isn’t
likely to relieve depression or other
mental health conditions
.
Cosmetic surgery:
What to know
beforehand
Finding a qualifed
cosmetic surgeon
If you decide to pursue cosmetic surgery,
you
'
ll probably have your choice of
cosmetic surgeons
.
Choose one who
specializes in the procedure you
'
d like
to have done and is certifed in the
specialty by a board recognized by the
American Board of Medical Specialties,
such as the American Board of Plastic
Surgery or the American Board of Facial
Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
.
Beware of misleading certifcations from
unrecognized or self
-
designated boards
.
If you
'
ll be having a procedure that
requires general anesthesia, be sure that
the operating facility has been accredited
by a national
-
or state
-
recognized
accrediting agency, such as Te Joint
Commission, or is licensed by the state
in which the facility is located
.
It
'
s also important to remember
that not all referrals are equal
.
Seek
recommendations from people you
trust, such as your family doctor or a
friend who
'
s had a successful procedure
.
If you call a hospital to ask for a
recommendation, you might simply be
referred to the next cosmetic surgeon on
a revolving list
.
Meeting your surgeon
When you
'
ve narrowed your choice of
surgeons, schedule a consultation — or
multiple consultations with diferent
surgeons
.
Te surgeon will evaluate the
part of your body that you want treated,
and you
'
ll share your medical history,
list any medications you
'
re taking, and
discuss your desires and expectations
.
During the initial consultation, ask the
surgeon
:
• Am I a good candidate for this
procedure? Why or why not?
• Are there treatments other than
surgery that might work just as well or
better for me?
• How many times have you done this
procedure? What were the results?
• Can you share photos or diagrams to
help me understand the procedure
and the expected results?
• Can the desired efect be
accomplished in one procedure, or do
you anticipate multiple procedures?
• What are the specifc surgical options?
What are the pros and cons for each?
• What type of anesthetic will be used?
How will it afect me?
• Will I be hospitalized? If so, for how
long?
• What are the possible complications?
• How will my progress be monitored
afer surgery? What follow
-
up care
will I receive?
• How much will the procedure cost?
• How ofen is
"
touch
-
up
"
surgery
needed? Is it covered in the cost
estimate?
Te closer you work with your surgeon
to establish specifc, measurable and
achievable goals before surgery, the
more likely you are to be satisfed with
the results
.
Remember, though, even if
you
'
ve done your homework and found
a surgeon you like
-
at a price you can
aford
-
the decision to pursue cosmetic
surgery is yours and yours alone
.
Make
sure you
'
re absolutely comfortable with
the surgeon and committed to your
treatment choices
.
H