There are certain aspects of plastic surgery that can only be learned from experience. Having been in practice for nearly 30 years, I’ve learned quite a few things. I’d like to share some of my observations in hopes that they might help you too.
1. The Older You Are, the Faster the Recovery.
This may sound counterintuitive, but it’s not. Both life experience and emotional maturity play a role in recovery. For my patients in their 20s, this may be their first surgery. They haven’t been through a major medical event such as C-section, or even childbirth as an older patient might. Without this frame of reference, younger patients often need more time and support to cope with their surgery.
The demands of life can also have an effect. The woman in her 30s or 40s with an active family or busy career doesn’t have time to slow down; she wants to be back to functioning as soon as possible. Older patients often say that their cosmetic procedure was really nothing compared to other medical events in their lives.
2. The More Time Allotted For Surgery and Recovery, the More Surgical Options Available.
This is particularly important if you want to improve your appearance for a specific event. Allowing sufficient time to heal means you can choose from procedures that can achieve more dramatic results but require more recovery. Last-minute patients have fewer options. He or she must choose between a less impressive treatment that allows for faster healing or accept not looking the way he or she wants to look for the event.
3. Healthy Living Will Optimize the Results of Plastic Surgery.
Cosmetic surgery can achieve wonderful outcomes, which are enhanced by a healthy lifestyle. Patients who eat in moderation, enjoy whole, nutritious foods, and exercise regularly remain leaner, feel better, and their results last longer.
4. Consider the Long-Term Financial Cost When Comparing Treatment Options.
These days patients can choose from a number of noninvasive treatments that promise to achieve similar results to surgery; however, they will typically be short-lived or minimal and often require repeat treatments, whereas surgery is a long-lasting solution. This doesn’t make them inferior options—it just means that you need to be realistic about what a particular genre of treatments can achieve with respect to your goals.
5. Surgical Techniques Need to Be Individualized.
Each patient’s body is different; for a natural result, the surgeon must create balance and proportion based on the individual’s body type. For example, a shorter, thicker, wider woman who wants a small C-cup may still be unhappy after breast augmentation if she is still out of proportion. Have a talk with your surgeon and jointly come up with the best option for you.
6. Even the Best Plastic Surgery May Not Be Perfect.
A qualified surgeon will use the most effective techniques to keep your results looking wonderful as long as possible. However, nothing can stop the normal aging process. For example breast implants will maintain a permanent size and shape. However, as you age and your skin loses elasticity, the breasts can begin to sag. Eventually the results from any procedure may need touching up.
7. A Qualified Surgeon Will Make Sure You Are Healthy Before Agreeing to Perform Surgery.
Effective informed consent, preoperative screening, and surgical conservatism are important in order to achieve a good aesthetic outcome, ensure your safety, and minimize risks. Significant adverse events are exceptionally rare in cosmetic surgery when the plastic surgeon follows stringent preoperative safety protocols. Always talk to your surgeon if you have any questions or concerns.
8.The Latest Procedure May Not Be the Best Procedure.
Medical technology has continued to improve decade-by-decade, year-by-year. Just because the procedure is new, however, does not necessarily mean it’s better. Do your research and only choose the procedure after consulting with an experienced plastic surgeon to determine what is the best procedure for you.
9. Temporary Procedures Might Be the Best First Option.
This is particularly true with dermal fillers. While the idea of not having to repeat treatments every few months is appealing, you may not be certain of the outcome you want. One option is to choose a temporary filler the first time around, or the first time you see a new provider. This way you can “test-drive” the results.
10. If Something Sounds Too Good to Be True, it Probably Is.
Making a decision to have plastic surgery is an important event. Always do your research, and ask lots of questions about the surgeon and the procedure. Remember that a good decision is made with a cool head and a warm heart. That is, you want to be fully informed and have a good feeling about the surgeon you are choosing.
I hope these observations have proven helpful to your research. If you have any questions, feel free to contact our office. Our staff and I will be happy to talk further at a personal consultation.
John D. Smoot, M.D., F. A.C.S.