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Cosmetic surgery offers many people the opportunity to look younger and feel more confident. It can bring healing and restoration after an injury or burn, or correct deformities that have been present since birth. With the latest advancements in plastic surgery techniques, cosmetic surgery offers more possibilities than ever before. However, there are a few things you should know before having cosmetic surgery.

Managing Your Expectations for Cosmetic Surgery

Cosmetic surgery alters the way you look, but it’s important that your goal is improvement rather than perfection. Don’t anticipate that you’ll look like a completely different person or try to emulate your favorite celebrity. The goal of cosmetic surgery is to help create the best version of you, not change you into someone else.

It’s also important to remember that cosmetic surgery addresses your physical appearance. While you might gain confidence from an improved appearance, cosmetic surgery should not be used to treat depression, advance a career, save a troubled relationship, or improve your social life.

Cosmetic surgery provides a very positive change in many people’s lives, but surgery alone can’t change your life completely. Having realistic expectations about your procedure is an important part of the decision-making progress and improves your chances of being happy with your results after surgery.

Understanding the Risks and Expense of Cosmetic Surgery

As you probably know, cosmetic surgery should not be considered a “quick fix”. It requires time, comes with risk, and can be expensive. Before you decide to have cosmetic surgery, consider:

  • Financial Expense – most health insurance plans will not cover cosmetic surgery or any follow-up care you may need.
  • Medical Risk – every surgery comes with risks. Ask your cosmetic surgeon about the specific risks that may be associated with your procedure, including excessive bleeding or infection.
  • Recovery Time – you may experience pain or discomfort for days, weeks, or months after your surgery as you heal. Recovery time can vary depending on type of procedure and your individual health at the time of surgery. Talk to your doctor about what you can expect after surgery.

Cosmetic surgery is a big commitment. Take the time to address these and any other concerns you may have with your healthcare team before scheduling your procedure.

Choosing a Plastic Surgeon

In most cases you will be able to choose the doctor who performs your cosmetic surgery. While that allows you to pick the right physician for you, it may feel like an overwhelming decision at first. Asking the following questions can help you choose a cosmetic surgeon.

What is your experience with the procedure I’m considering? Consider a surgeon who specializes in the procedure you’re considering and can discuss specific risks and results with you.

Are you certified by any medical boards? Choose a board certified physician. Ideally, a surgeon performing cosmetic surgery will be recognized by the American Board of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery or similar medical board.

The right surgeon should be experienced and skilled. You should also feel comfortable talking to and asking questions of your surgeon. Other questions to ask a potential surgeon may include:

  • Am I a good candidate for this procedure?
  • Can you explain the procedure using photos or diagrams?
  • Do you have photos of past patients that can help me visualize expected results?
  • How many procedures will be necessary to achieve the desired result?
  • What are the different surgical techniques that can be used? What are the risks and benefits of each option?
  • Will I be hospitalized? If so, for how long?
  • What kind of recovery can I expect after I’m sent home?
  • What are the possible complications associated with this surgery?
  • How much will the procedure cost? Does that cost include follow-up care?

Asking these questions will help you make an informed decision and mange your expectations. It will also help you decide how comfortable you are with a potential surgeon.