If you are one of millions of patients considering plastic surgery as a way to refine your appearance or for reconstructive purposes, then our guide can help you learn about plastic surgery and locate a surgeon near you.
Common Types of Plastic Surgery Today
Some of the most common cosmetic procedures being performed today are liposuction, rhinoplasty, breast augmentations, and abdominoplasty, but there are many others that are performed tens or even hundreds of thousands of times every year. If you live in or by a large city, chances are no matter what you want to have done, you can find a specialist nearby to do it for you.
Benefits Of Plastic Surgery
Plastic surgery is nearly always considered “elective” in that it isn't medically necessary, but is something that the patient chooses to undergo. However, it does convey some real benefits. In some cases, it actually does have medical applications-rhinoplasty, or nasal surgery, can correct some breathing problems, and breast reductions can help reduce strain and tension on a woman's back and neck and even reduce chronic headaches.
In other cases, cosmetic surgery can be used to repair a birth defect such as a cleft palate or webbing between the finger or toes. It can also be used in reconstructive surgery, to repair someone's face after a bad car accident or to repair a woman's breast after a mastectomy. Increasingly, cosmetic surgeries are also being used for gender reassignment.
Plastic surgery can also help some people overcome feelings of shyness or depression regarding their appearance. If a person is particularly unhappy about a certain aspect of their appearance, they may have a hard time feeling lovable or worthwhile, or may feel uncomfortable in company or intimate encounters. In these cases, plastic surgery can make a big difference to their quality of life.
What Kind Of Problems Can Plastic Surgery Treat?
The field of cosmetic surgery today is impressively big, and it is growing almost daily, as researchers discover new techniques to change and enhance the appearance of the human body. There exists a cosmetic surgery for nearly any kind of change a person would want to make. However, not all surgeries are create equal. Some things are relatively simple, such as certain kinds of liposuction, and neither require great expense nor a long down time, but others are much complex. Face lifts, for example, can be quite expensive, and also can take up to six months to completely recover from.
What Can't Plastic Surgery Do?
While plastic surgery can dramatically change almost any part of a person's appearance, it does have some limitations. Because cosmetic surgeries take a toll on the patient's health, there is a limit on how many procedures a person can have within a certain span of time. Getting too many procedures at once is dangerous, and it also can have some unfortunate cosmetic side effects.
In addition, getting too many cosmetic surgeries in one area can cause some problems. One surgery may only produce a minimal amount of scarring, for example, but three of four all within the same area will probably start causing more noticeable scarring, and may also interfere with the functionality of that particular area.
Large changes are also usually frequently more difficult than smaller ones. A 65-year-old female, for example, it is very possible for you to get a face lift to remove some of your wrinkles, or to get a dermal filler to plump up you cheeks, or to get liposuction to remove a little sag from around your jawline, but it will be much more difficult and expensive to actually try to pass for someone in their twenties. Likewise, very petite woman who want to get breast or buttock implants, you may have to settle for a smaller size-your skin may not be able to stretch enough to accommodate extra-large implants.
Finally, potential plastic surgery patients should keep in mind that cosmetic surgery cannot magically produce self-esteem, confidence, or happiness. Many people who get these surgeries do feel better about their appearance, and are glad that they made the decision to have it, but there are some cases in which a patient discovers too late that having a little liposuction doesn't completely solve all of their body issues. Having realistic expectations about the end result of a surgery helps patients decide whether or not it is really worth it for them, and also helps them be satisfied with it after it is all over.
Are The Results Of Plastic Surgery Permanent?
Patients should also be aware that not all cosmetic surgeries are permanent. Some things, like dermal fillers, wear off within six months to a year, and have to be redone to maintain the benefits. Other things, like face lifts or liposuction, are frequently billed as permanent, but that isn't exactly true either. The surgery is permanent, but patients should expect that as they continue to age, their skin will sag again and create new wrinkles, and if they continue to overeat in the future, their liposuction, won't prevent them from putting on weight again.
On the other hand, there are a number of surgeries that really are permanent. Many rhinoplasty surgeries, for example, involve removing a piece of bone from the bridge of the nose, and that is something that won't ever grow back again. Similarly, breast implants are considered permanent, although patients can usually have them removed at a later date if they are so inclined.
Plastic Surgery Procedure
The exact techniques used to perform plastic surgery of course vary a lot depending on exactly what you have done. However, in general, the first step toward getting any kind of cosmetic surgery is the initial consultation. This is usually a free, no-obligation meeting between you and the surgeon you can consider using. You and he or she will discuss what work you want to have done, how you hope to look afterward, your general state of health, and the price for his or her services. This is also a chance for you to ask any questions you have about the procedure.
After the consultation, if you decide to go ahead and get your surgery, you will schedule a date. The surgeon will also give some pre-op rules to follow, including possible restrictions on your medications, diet, and activities. The more closely you follow these rules, the better your surgery and subsequent recovery will go.
On the day of your surgery, you will probably be given a brief physical inspection, and the surgeon or an assistant will go through the procedure with you one more time. Then you will be given an anesthetic, and the surgery will begin. For some surgeries, only a local anesthetic is required, but more involved procedures may need general anesthetic. If your surgeon uses local anesthetic and your surgery goes smoothly, you will probably be able to go home the same day. If your surgery was performed with general anesthesia, though, you may be kept at the hospital overnight for observation.
After your surgery, your doctor will give you a list of things to do (and not do) in order to have the fastest and safest recovery possible. Again, the more closely you follow these instructions, the better it will go. How long your recovery will take will depend a lot on what kind of procedure you had. Some liposuction techniques, for instance, require virtually no down time. Other types of procedures can take months before you can resume all of your normal activities.
Risks of Plastic Surgery
The risks and side effects of plastic surgery are varied, depending on your overall level of health and which procedure you get. However, common side effects include things like pain, bruising, swelling, reddening, itching, and sometimes nausea and/or vertigo.
Symptoms such as high fever, headaches, blurred vision, slurred speech and excessive bleeding are not common, and could be the sign of an infection, stroke, or other serious complication. Patients with one or more of these symptoms should make contact with their doctor immediately, or go to the nearest instant care center or emergency room if he or she is unavailable.
Cost of Plastic Surgery
If you are seriously considering getting any kind of plastic surgery, then one of the things that you're probably most interested in learning is how much it will cost. Unfortunately, though, this information can be hard to find. Most websites won't give you any specifics, and clinics are likewise reluctant to give you pricing information over the phone. Some of this is just a marketing strategy-most people selling big-ticket items like cosmetic surgery don't like to tell you the price until after they've had a chance to point out all of the benefits-but this is also because the price of an procedure can vary dramatically depending on exactly what you want done, your current state of health, age, and genetic makeup. Because of this, it will be difficult to get anything other than a very vague estimate until you actually meet with a doctor to discuss your surgery.
Paying For Plastic Surgery
Because plastic surgery is so expensive, most people can't afford it out of pocket. For these people, there are a number of options:
Saving. This is the most practical way to pay for your surgery, although it does involve a wait period of anywhere from months to years, depending on how much you are able to put away from each paycheck. The time delay turns many people off, but if you can take it, saving up the money for your surgery is the cheapest way to do it, and it also gives you enough time to make sure you really want your procedure, so that you don't end up impulse buying.
Financing. Most clinics offer some form of financing to their clients. You can also get financing through most major lending institutions, if you can meet their credit requirements. Financing allows you to get your surgery right away, and it also makes it more affordable by breaking the payment up into smaller sections, but it is generally significantly more expensive in the long run because of the fees and interest associated with it. Some people also dislike financing because it can be stressful, especially in a down economy. Like all other forms of debt, cosmetic surgery financing can be a major hassle to anyone who suddenly loses their job or has any major unplanned expenses.
Insurance. In nearly all cases, insurance companies will refuse to pay for cosmetic surgery, since it is not medically necessary. In some cases, though, they may make an exception if you present a valid case. Insurance companies are most likely to pay for the surgery if it is reconstructive in nature (for example, after a car accident or a mastectomy), or if it will help treat a specific health problem, such as sleep apnea, breathing trouble, headaches, or shoulder and neck pain. As with all medical expenses, you should make sure to talk to your insurance company before you get any cosmetic procedures to make sure you have any necessary documentation and pre-approval.