By Alycia Gordan, Contributing author, a freelance writer and editor who is passionate about health, technology and lifestyle. She has a degree in health sciences.
Did you hear about the man who underwent 58 surgeries to look like the “Human Ken Doll”? Or the girl who tried to look like Angelina Jolie?
There has been more than one instance when we have come across cases of plastic surgery gone wrong.
Is plastic surgery as bad as it seems though?
Plastic Surgery: The Basics
Plastic surgery is a highly misunderstood term. When we hear the word ‘plastic,’ our first instinct is to picture a person with overly plump lips, a bad nose job, and a face so loaded with Botox that it cannot move.
In reality, plastic surgery encompasses an array of procedures, ranging from cosmetic to reconstructive surgery that can help change a person’s appearance and functioning ability. If you think about it that way, it does not sound that harsh.
Reconstructive procedures are a branch of plastic surgery that aid in correcting any defects on your face or body. From congenital malformations, such as cleft lips and ear deformities, to problems stemming from trauma such as burns, accidents, and bites, to the aftermath of previous treatments; reconstructive surgery focuses on defect correction.
Cosmetic procedures deal with enhancement rather than correction. There is nothing wrong in not feeling satisfied with certain aspects of your aesthetic. Some might find their noses to be too pointy; others might think their breasts need enhancement, whereas some might feel the need to lose their belly fat; we are all self-conscious about something or the other. Cosmetic surgery entails a plethora of procedures ranging from liposuction, mammoplasty, and rhinoplasty to dermabrasion and laser hair and scar removal.
According to statistics, amongst the 1.8 million cosmetic procedures performed in 2017, the top five procedures include breast augmentations, liposuction, nose reshaping, eyelid surgeries, and tummy tucks.
Plastic Surgery: Factors to Consider Before the Procedure
Plastic surgery, however, comes with its own set of risks and limitations. If you are considering plastic surgery, here are some things you need to know before the procedure.
You must guard your expectations when opting for plastic surgery. The aim of plastic surgery is improvement and not perfection.
Our imagination works in extraordinary ways; therefore, getting carried away is understandable. However, if you are opting for a procedure aiming to look like a Hollywood A-lister, then, unfortunately, you will not walk out of the clinic a satisfied client.
Plastic surgery only works when minor alterations are involved. Do not let pop culture fool you into believing that face-swapping technology is real. Treat plastic surgery as a surgical procedure and nothing more (Read: The ultimate solution all your life’s personal, social, and professional problems).
Health insurance plans rarely cover plastic surgery. Plastic surgery is a cosmetic procedure and not a necessity; the cost of the procedure is not a meager one either.
The cost of the procedures ranges from hundreds to hundred of thousands of dollars depending on the nature and complexity of the procedure. Plastic surgery does not come cheap. Therefore, before you sign the consent form, sort out your finances, knowing that your insurance will not take care of any of it, including the follow-up appointment costs.
Every surgery comes with a risk, and so does plastic surgery. These include post-op bleeding, swelling, and in complex cases, infection at the surgical site.
Depending on the nature of your procedure, you need to be aware of what might follow when you are off the surgical table. While laser hair removal does not harbor any serious risks other than redness and inflammation, procedures such as mammoplasty and liposuction can result in swelling and infection. It is best to do your homework following thorough research before you sign the agreement and be prepared for the worst.
All wounds heal with time, and so does this one. Recovery can be a tedious journey. Your recovery period may vary depending on how invasive your procedure is. For simple procedures, healing can take a few hours or days. Complicated surgeries may take up to a few weeks or even months to recover. While some may think that, the plastic surgery experience ends with the operation, in reality, healing, and recovery entails its own set of physical effects. Recovery can be a real test of your patience because it does limit you physically, and it can be a source of considerable pain as well. You must understand plastic surgery’s post-op effects on your personal and professional life.
Preventive health maintenance is very important. Many diseases often have no advance symptoms. So even if you feel well you can identify them before they become advanced.
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Finding a Surgeon:
Finding your surgeon is perhaps as important as the procedure itself. If you are going to go under the knife, you must make sure that the person holding the knife is skilled at his art. You will have multiple options to choose from; however, we would recommend that you opt for someone who specializes in the procedure you wish to get done.
Make sure that your country’s board, such as the American Board of Medical Specialties in the USA, recognizes your doctor. If the procedure requires anesthesia, confirm beforehand that your facility of choice has a license issued by the state. For instance, if you are searching for plastic surgeons in Albany, NY, you should look into the state’s rules and regulations and check whether the clinic of your choice follows them or not.
Once you have made a list of possible surgeons, schedule your consultations. Your first meeting will allow you to assess whether you are comfortable and satisfied with your doctor of choice. Be vocal about your concerns.
Do not be afraid to ask every question that may be looming in the back of your head. Plastic surgery is not a new hair color that you experiment with. If your hair color does not turn out how you wanted it to, you can change it back in a few hours.
Plastic surgery is not entirely reversible, so why take the risk? From your expectations to your medical history to any medications that you are currently taking to your concerns, be as unfiltered as you can be. Surgery is a serious business, and it should be treated rightly so.
There are specific prerequisites that a patient must comply with to be considered suitable for surgery owing to the complexity of operations in general. Not everyone is an ideal candidate for surgery.
The closer you work with your surgeon to form detailed, determinate, and feasible goals before the surgery, the more likely you are to be satisfied with the results.
During your initial consultations, be sure to discuss your health and your lifestyle with your surgeon. These include your diet, exercise, habits such as smoking or drinking, along with medications, supplements, or herbal medication that you may be taking without a prescription. Every factor harbors an effect on your system. It is best to know if any of these factors may affect the risk of bleeding or healing or interaction with other medications during surgery.
Your surgeon may ask you to introduce some changes in your lifestyle prior to the surgery. Doctors recommend smokers to quit smoking for at least two to four weeks before the procedure and following the surgery as well to aid healing and minimize complications. You may be noted a poor candidate for plastic surgery if you live with health problems such as hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, bleeding disorders, or depression. Some obese patients are also advised to reduce weight to deem them fit for surgery.
Plastic surgery is not something you can decide on impulsively or rush into. If you are considering plastic surgery, do your research before you step foot into the clinic. Ask yourself the questions and then list them down for your doctor. After meeting with your doctor, you will have a clear picture of whether the surgery is right for you or not. The decision should be yours and yours alone. Remember that your motivation to opt for plastic surgery should not stem from societal pressure. Opt to do it if you want to and if you are committed to your choice.
ABOUT Alycia Gordan
Alycia Gordan is a freelance writer who loves to read and write articles on healthcare technology, fitness and lifestyle. She is a tech junkie and divides her time between travel and writing. You can find her on Twitter: @meetalycia