Every year, millions of people think about plastic surgery. A good number of them end up deciding to go through with a procedure. Whether it’s breast surgery such as a lift or augmentation, facial plastic surgery to take years off of the appearance or correct a deformity, or body surgery to change the shape and size of a feature, plastic surgery isn’t a decision to make lightly.
Doing research into the procedure you want is essential. It’s also important to sit down and ask yourself a few questions to make sure that you’re ready for plastic surgery and that you understand what is involved.
Why Do I Want Plastic Surgery?
Before you schedule a consultation with a surgeon, it’s a good idea to pause and ask yourself why you want surgery. People have lots of reasons for considering a cosmetic procedure. You might have naturally small breasts and have long wished that they were bigger, which is why you want a breast augmentation. After pregnancy, your breasts might have changed in size or become saggier, and you might want surgery to restore them to their pre-childbirth and breastfeeding selves. You might have facial issues, such as a big nose or droopy eyelids, that have bothered you for a long time, and you finally have the opportunity to fix it.
Asking yourself why you want surgery allows you to see if it’s something you actually want or something you’re considering because you believe it will make someone else happy. One of the best pieces of surgical advice you’ll get is not to have surgery to please someone else.
Taking the time to find out why you want surgery will help you avoid being pressured into it and help you avoid making a decision you won’t be happy about.
What Do I Know About the Procedure?
Once you’ve figured out your reasons for surgery, you want to sit down and review what you know about the procedure. Usually, you can do this during your consultation with a plastic surgeon.
There are a lot of myths out there about plastic surgery. For example, plenty of people believe that liposuction is a way to lose a lot of weight or that you can have your tummy tuck during a C-section. You want to have realistic expectations about the procedure, which means having a clear idea of what it can actually do and what actually happens during it.
One way to figure out what you know about the surgery is to make a list of the details. You can include on your list what you think the surgery does, what you think the recovery time is like, and what you think happens during the procedure. When you meet with the plastic surgeon, you can review your list. He’ll let you know where you got it right and where you’re slightly off the mark, and why.
Remember that knowledge is power. The more you know before surgery, the better prepared you’ll be for the healing and recovery process.
What Do I Know About the Plastic Surgeon?
Along with getting all the details about the surgery itself, it’s always a good idea to get all the details about the plastic surgeon, too. Not all plastic surgeons are the same. Some have spent their entire medical careers focused on plastic and cosmetic surgery. They have years of post-medical school training in plastic surgery and thousands of procedures under their belts. Other doctors might offer certain procedures as a way to increase revenue, but don’t have the training in or years of experience with those procedures.
How do you know that the surgeon you’re considering is the most qualified? There are a number of things to look for, either before you schedule a consultation or during it.
- Board certification. A plastic surgeon should be board certified in plastic surgery, which means that he’s completed a certain number of years of residency training, has passed an exam, and has performed a number of surgeries.
- Patient testimonials. A surgeon who does a stellar job will have patients lining up to give him good reviews. Ask your surgeon for references or look at online reviews posted about him. Patient reviews not only give you an idea of the surgeon’s skill level, they can also give you an idea of his bedside manner and how well he follows up after surgery.
- Before and After Photos. Testimonials and reviews are helpful, but pictures are worth a thousand words. Take a look at photos of previous patients to get an idea of whether how the surgeon performs the surgery you want is similar to what you are hoping to get from it.
Am I Ready for Plastic Surgery?
You’ve done your research, you’ve found a good surgeon. The last question to ask yourself is “Am I ready?” Even if you’re mentally prepared for surgery and have realistic expectations for it, it might not be the right time. For example, if you are hoping to have another kid, you might want postpone a mommy makeover until you know for sure that you’re finished having kids.
It’s also important that you have enough room in your schedule to allow for healing and recovery after surgery — usually a week or two for the initial recovery. You’ll have to avoid a few activities, like exercise, for even longer.
Look at your support system. Do you have a loved one to look out for you and help you during the first few days after surgery? If not, you might want to wait until their schedule clears up enough to help you.
Dr. Paul Vitenas offers a full range of plastic surgery procedures at his practice in Houston, Texas. To learn more about surgery and for help answering some important questions about your chosen procedure, call (281) 484-0088 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Vitenas today.