Undergoing cosmetic surgery is a big decision; there are a number of considerations that one must take into account before making the commitment. Each procedure carries its own risks and potential complications; it is vital that you understand all of these before surgery. A well-educated and informed patient is the best type of patient.
With this in mind, below are 5 questions you should always ask before getting plastic surgery.
What results can I expect?
This is an extremely important question to ask your surgeon, as people will sometimes have unrealistic expectations about what can be achieved. In your initial consultation, you’ll be able to ask about the procedure you’re interested in and your surgeon will be able to tell you what type of a result is attainable. He/she should also be able to show you before and after pictures of patients who have had the same procedure so you get a better idea of what to expect. Keep in mind, however, that no two patients are the same, and your result may vary from somebody else despite having the same procedure.
What is the risk of complications? And what are they?
Any type of surgery comes with at least some degree of risk, no matter how small it may be. When speaking with your surgeon, you should find out what the risk of complications is for your particular type of surgery. While the vast majority of complications are exceedingly rare, they need to be discussed because should they occur, you need to feel confident that your surgeon knows how to correct the problem. I feel that this is a very important part of the pre operative consultation. It is much easier to get through a complication if you’ve been educated on what it is and how we are going to fix the problem BEFORE it happens. I try to have all of my patients be educated and well informed so that there are no surprises.
How long will the results last?
It’s easy to make the assumption that the results of plastic surgery will last forever, but this isn’t always the case. Although we try our best, we can’t completely halt the aging process. As you age, your skin, fat, and fascia will usually become more and more lax. Surgeries performed in one’s 20’s will not stand the test of time as one ages into their 40’s and 50’s. Revision surgery is usually required. For facial procedures such as face-lifts and brow lifts, the results last for approximately 7-10 years, depending on the patient and type of surgery performed. Other procedures are longer lasting such as breast augmentation, but even this will require future surgery as implants don’t last forever and having children, breast-feeding, and aging in general will require breast lifting in the future.
What type of recovery can I expect?
I have to remind many of my patients that cosmetic surgery is SURGERY. In most cases we are using general anesthesia and these procedures are performed in a hospital setting. This is real surgery with real risks and it is not to be taken lightly. Pain, soreness, bruising, and swelling are all normal parts of plastic surgery. In most cases these will all subside rather quickly, but they require patience. With some types of surgery the final result is not evident until months later. Make sure you discuss these things with your surgeon. Again, a well-informed patient will experience fewer surprises and ultimately have a smoother postoperative course with less anxiety.
How often have you performed this procedure?
It’s always a good idea to have your surgery performed by a surgeon who has experience performing the particular type of procedure. Just like anything else that requires a high degree of precision and skill, those who have the most experience perform it best and with the most consistent results. Experience and training are extremely important; make sure you discuss this with your surgeon.