Plastic Surgery: What You Need to Know
Plastic surgery is a surgical specialty that involves the restoration, reconstruction or alteration of the human body. It can be divided into two main categories: reconstructive surgery and cosmetic surgery.
Reconstructive surgery aims to repair or improve the function and appearance of a body part that is damaged by injury, disease, birth defect or surgery. Some examples of reconstructive surgery are craniofacial surgery, hand surgery, microsurgery and burn treatment. Reconstructive surgery is usually covered by health insurance if it is medically necessary.
Cosmetic surgery aims to enhance the aesthetic appeal of a body part that is normal in function but does not meet the patient’s satisfaction. Some examples of cosmetic surgery are breast augmentation, liposuction, rhinoplasty and facelift. Cosmetic surgery is usually not covered by health insurance unless it is done for a medical reason, such as breast reconstruction after mastectomy.
Risks and Benefits
Plastic surgery, like any surgery, carries some risks and potential complications. These may include infection, bleeding, blood clots, nerve or organ damage, scarring and anesthesia reactions. Some risks are specific to certain procedures, such as implant rupture, capsular contracture or asymmetry. The risks may vary depending on the patient’s health status, the surgeon’s skill and the type of surgery performed.
Plastic surgery can also have some benefits for the patient’s physical and psychological well-being. These may include improved function, appearance, self-esteem and quality of life. Some benefits are more evident than others, depending on the patient’s expectations, motivation and satisfaction with the outcome. Plastic surgery can be a positive experience if done for the right reasons and with realistic goals.
What to Consider Beforehand
Before deciding to undergo plastic surgery, it is important to do some research and preparation. Some things to consider are:
- Your expectations. Anticipate improvement, not perfection. Plastic surgery can enhance your appearance but it cannot change your life or solve your problems. Be clear about what you want to achieve and why you want to do it.
- Your surgeon. Choose a qualified, experienced and board-certified plastic surgeon who specializes in the procedure you want. Check their credentials, reviews and before-and-after photos. Ask them about their training, techniques, risks, benefits and alternatives.
- Your consultation. Have a thorough consultation with your surgeon before the surgery. Discuss your medical history, goals, expectations and concerns. Ask questions and listen carefully to the answers. Make sure you understand the procedure, its risks and benefits, its cost and recovery time.
- Your preparation. Follow your surgeon’s instructions on how to prepare for the surgery. This may include stopping smoking, avoiding certain medications or supplements, fasting or hydrating before the surgery. Arrange for someone to drive you home and help you with your recovery.
- Your recovery. Follow your surgeon’s instructions on how to care for yourself after the surgery. This may include taking painkillers, antibiotics or anti-inflammatory drugs, applying ice packs or compression garments, avoiding strenuous activities or sun exposure and keeping your incisions clean and dry.
Plastic surgery can be a rewarding experience if done safely and responsibly. However, it is not a decision to be taken lightly or impulsively. It is important to weigh the risks and benefits carefully and consult with a qualified plastic surgeon before proceeding.