The number of people getting cosmetic procedures has been on the upswing over the past years. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), over 15.5 million cosmetic procedures were performed in 2020 alone. For many, their reasons include improving their appearance, self-esteem, and self-confidence.
While cosmetic procedures continue to be accessible, deciding to go under the knife is something you must carefully think of. After all, the outcomes are often irreversible.
To aid you in your decision-making, we’ve listed down the things you need to know about cosmetic surgery. Let’s dive right in!
All you need to know about cosmetic surgery
Cosmetic surgery, also called aesthetic surgery, is an elective operation that involves enhancing a person’s physical appearance. Focusing on improving aesthetic appeal, this type of surgery can be performed on all areas of the head, neck, and body. Examples include liposuction, rhinoplasty, blepharoplasty or eyelid surgery, and facelift.
Cosmetic surgery has two types: nonsurgical (i.e., Botox and laser hair removal) and surgical (i.e., facial implants and breast lift) cosmetic procedures. The latter ranges from minimally invasive to complex procedures.
Cosmetic surgery is different from plastic surgery. While cosmetic surgery often focuses on appearance and aesthetics, plastic surgery is a surgical specialty that seeks to reconstruct physical defects due to birth disorders, burns, disease, among others. Correcting dysfunctional parts, the latter primarily aims to restore form and function.
What you need to know before your surgery
1. Select a seasoned surgeon
Not all cosmetic surgeons are created equal, so results vary. There are surgeons with different abilities, specialties, and years of experience. Choose a cosmetic surgeon who regularly performs the procedure you want to undergo. Then, look into their experience and results by checking the before-and-after photos of their patients on their website. Reading online reviews or testimonials and considering referrals from past patients will also go a long way.
In addition, factor in surgeons’ qualifications. Ensure that they are board-certified by visiting the doctor’s state medical board or cosmetic surgeon association websites.
2. Consult with your surgeon
After identifying your preferred surgeon/s, proceed to schedule a consultation/s to help you evaluate the part of your face or body that you want to have treated. During this time, you’ll also need to share your medical history, talk about your expectations, and ask about their experiences and results. Raise important questions such as:
- Am I a good candidate for this procedure? Why or why not?
- Do you recommend any other treatments other than surgery that might work just as well or better for me?
- Can my desired result be accomplished in one procedure, or should I anticipate multiple procedures?
3. Don’t compromise quality for affordability
While affordability, safety, and quality co-exist in many ways, these three don’t always go hand in hand in cosmetic surgery if offered at low costs. In cosmetic surgery, you get what you pay for. If you want to ensure safety and quality, expect that cosmetic surgery may range from hundreds to thousands of dollars, depending on the type of procedure. This isn’t also typically covered by health insurance. Moreover, there may be any follow-up care or auxiliary refinement procedures, so consider their cost.
It’s critical to also prepare yourself financially. Essentially, it’s better to save up and wait a bit longer than compromise quality for affordability.
4. Have realistic expectations
It’s no doubt that cosmetic surgery can enhance your features and spur your confidence. However, know that it won’t guarantee you a more satisfying social life, a good relationship, or a job promotion.
After your procedure, you should only anticipate improvement, not perfection. After all, results aren’t only determined by your surgeon’s work but by how you and your body respond.
5. Identify the risks associated with your procedure
Surgery is risk-taking, so make sure you’re prepared for whatever will happen. While things usually go well with cosmetic surgery, you must know the possible risks and complications that come with the surgery you want to have done. These include subjective risks such as dissatisfaction. There are also possible complications like infection at the incision site, abnormal scarring, mild bleeding, anesthesia-induced complications like blood clots, and nerve damage.
You might want to consider microcurrent therapy to help your injured tissues heal faster.
6. Consider nonsurgical options to reduce risks
If you want to avoid the risks associated with the procedure you want to undertake, consider nonsurgical options. It’s best to do your homework and also consult with your preferred surgeon/s for confirmation. Though non-invasive procedures also carry some risks, you might want to consider getting a temporary fix before going for a permanent solution. Like for skin firming, there are options you can consider to minimize risks.
7. Recovery process takes time
Be patient with the results. You cannot expect to look runway-ready after your surgery since healing takes time. You’ll most likely experience swelling and bruising for weeks or even months, and your skin will take time to adapt to the changes. If you’ll undergo a facelift, make sure you know the facelift post-op care.
It’s still best to talk to your surgeon about post-procedure care and expectations. From there, assess the degree of responsibilities you have at work and home, and then consider taking some time off if possible. In addition, strictly follow your surgeon’s post-procedure directives to make sure your recovery process becomes smoother. If you have a skincare routine while recovering and you want it to be safe, consider good skincare ingredients.
“Cosmetic surgery is something you do for yourself—not for a spouse, partner, or parent,” Donna Tepper, M.D., plastic surgeon at Henry Ford Health System, underscores.Likewise, it’s important to ensure that you’re 100 percent sure about getting cosmetic surgery before you undergo an actual procedure. Assess your purpose or intent, consider the cost, weigh the risks, and work together with a surgeon who has more experience and satisfied patients to achieve your desired results.