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Is Plastic Surgery Right for You?

If you’re looking for a way to enhance your appearance or improve the way some aspect of your physique (not its function), then plastic surgery may be an option to help you look and feel better about yourself. While cosmetic surgery can help make improvements in your appearance, it is certainly not a decision to be made quickly or taken lightly. Make sure it is the right option for you by discussing all aspects with your doctor.

Plastic surgery is the surgical specialty that deals with the reconstruction of facial and body tissue that requires reshaping or remolding due to disease, defect or disorder. The word “plastic” is derived from the ancient Greek word plastikos, which means “to mold or give form.”

To help determine if plastic surgery is the right option for you, it is important to discuss alternatives and know what types of considerations to think about before having surgery. Just like any surgical procedure, cosmetic surgery also has risks and limitations.

If you’re considering any type of plastic surgery, here are some topics you should evaluate and discuss with your doctor:

  • Improving self-image. Why are you considering plastic surgery? The healthiest motivation for cosmetic surgery is to boost your self-image so that you feel better about yourself; not for someone else.
  • Setting your expectations. Are you being reasonable with your expected results? You can anticipate enhancing and improving a particular part of your body, but perfection is not the goal. To avoid disappointment, don’t expect cosmetic surgery to make you a model or improve your social life.
  • Cost of procedure. Can you afford the cosmetic procedure? Cosmetic surgery typically is not covered by health insurance plans. The cost varies depending on the procedure, ranging from hundreds to thousands of dollars. Sometimes there is follow-up care or additional corrective procedures that are needed.
  • Duration of desired effect. How long will the results last? Many cosmetic procedures offer results that are not permanent. Depending on your lifestyle and general health, the length of time for which the desired results last can vary. Ask your doctor for general guidelines.
  • Risks involved. Though rare, are you ready to handle unexpected results? There are potential risk factors involving the results and the procedure itself. Dissatisfaction is possible after any type of plastic surgery. Also, as with any surgical procedures, complications are possible, including excessive bleeding or infection at the surgical site.
  • Recovery time. Is the timing right? Will there be someone to help you both physically and emotionally? Depending on the procedure, you may time to recover from your cosmetic surgery, which can range from days to weeks or even months. Recovery may include physical impact, as well as other aspects of your personal and professional life.
  • Psychological effect. How will you adjust to the change in you? It is conceivable that your sense of self-esteem might improve after cosmetic surgery, but cosmetic surgery is not a cure all. If you have a problem with depression or other mental health conditions, then plastic surgery will not help.

What Types of Procedures Does Plastic Surgery Include?

Plastic surgery includes both reconstructive and aesthetic (cosmetic) procedures:

Reconstructive plastic surgery

In general, reconstructive surgery is performed on abnormal structures of the body that may be caused by the following:

  • Trauma
  • Infection
  • Developmental abnormalities
  • Congenital (present at birth) anomalies
  • Disease
  • Tumors

This type of surgery is usually performed to improve function, but may also be performed to approximate a normal appearance.

Cosmetic (aesthetic) plastic surgery

Cosmetic surgery is performed to repair or reshape otherwise normal structures of the body, generally, to improve appearance.

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