The decision to undergo any type of cosmetic surgery is intensely personal. After all, this type of surgery is completely voluntary. Unlike other necessary surgeries, we’re often driven to consider cosmetic surgery from a combination of social and emotional factors. Our body images in part are shaped by society. Although cosmetic surgery will not change your life, it may give you greater self-confidence and add to your sense of well-being. Do not make this decision lightly. It will not solve personal problems or make you look like someone else. Successful cosmetic surgery results are often dependent on the communication between you and your surgeon. Make sure you feel comfortable with your surgeon and that you feel you can communicate openly and honestly with him or her.
Why do I want cosmetic surgery?
It’s very important to be honest with yourself about why you want to correct a certain part of your body. You may be doing it for reconstructive purposes, either because of a congenital defect or as a result of trauma or an injury. Or, you may be doing it to slow the aging process. In any case, here are some questions to ask yourself about wanting cosmetic surgery and remember, be honest!
- What is your motivation? Do you think your spouse will love you more? Or, are you doing this for yourself?
- Ask yourself: What is it about that part of my body that I want to correct and why? When did I start thinking about cosmetic surgery? Was it because I wanted to do something about it or was it because someone else made a remark?
- What are your expectations from cosmetic surgery? Are they realistic? That is, are there just slight aging irregularities that you seek to correct, or is this a way to make up for deeper issues?
What is the first step to getting cosmetic surgery?
Before you decide to pursue cosmetic surgery, seek the balanced opinion of a plastic surgeon certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. Obtain as much information as you can about the procedure, discuss your questions and expectations with your surgeon, and carefully evaluate the credentials of the physician and hospital (or outpatient surgical center) before you proceed. This planning will help make you comfortable with your decision. Talk to friends or family members who may have undergone similar cosmetic surgery. If you don’t have friends or family members who have undergone similar procedures, ask your surgeon to recommend some of his or her current or former patients who have had the same procedure you’ve selected.
Talking to former or current patients also is a good idea to get a gauge on your surgeon’s personality and methods.
How do I choose a qualified surgeon for cosmetic surgery?
Follow these tips when making your selection:
- Board certification is often better. Select a physician who is board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. Why? This means that the physician has completed specialized training in cosmetic surgery and has passed rigorous written and oral examinations to earn certification.
- Experience counts. How long has your surgeon been performing this procedure? Is he or she using the latest technique? Has the physician obtained special training in the use of this technique or new technology? How many procedures has the physician performed? In general, the more experience the physician has in performing a certain procedure, the better the results.
- Communication is crucial. Do you feel comfortable being open with your surgeon? Have your questions been answered? Have you been informed of possible risks, side effects and recovery time associated with the cosmetic surgery?
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This information is provided by the Cleveland Clinic and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or health care provider. Please consult your health care provider for advice about a specific medical condition. This document was last reviewed on: 3/11/2008…#11026