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About Plastic Surgery

Plastic vs. Cosmetic Surgery

It may seem like the terms “cosmetic” and “plastic” surgery are used interchangeably, but, in fact, there are differences between these two medical professional specialties. Cosmetic surgery applies to those procedures, techniques and treatments used to change the appearance of the body that are non-surgical. Plastic surgery refers to surgical techniques and procedures used for both cosmetic and reconstructive purposes. Cosmetic and plastic surgeons have different requirements for medical training and accreditation. While plastic surgeons may provide some cosmetic procedures, cosmetic specialists cannot perform plastic surgery.

Image Of Woman Sketched For Plastic Surgery - Cape Cod Plastic Surgery

Why Choose Plastic Surgery?

Your sense of beauty is as individual as you are. Yet for many individuals, nothing is harder to see than their own beauty. It’s nearly impossible to be objective when looking at your own appearance. Almost everyone doesn’t like some feature of their body. But for some individuals, real deformities, signs of aging or a perceived lack of beauty affects their personal outlook and self-esteem.

Cosmetic or plastic surgery may offer a solution in cases when all else has failed. If, after a healthy diet, regular exercise and maintenance of a healthy weight, you have problems with body parts, cosmetic or plastic surgery may be the right option.

Cosmetic and plastic surgery can’t alter the way you see or feel about yourself. They can never achieve perfection. But they can help you come closer to your vision of beauty and create a more acceptable, comfortable appearance for you.

Benefits of Plastic Surgery

Whether you opt for a small procedure, like lip augmentation, or an extensive procedure, like a tummy tuck, cosmetic and plastic surgery offer some important benefits, including improved self-esteem, increased satisfaction with your appearance, and an increased desire for socialization.

Precautions

Cosmetic and plastic surgery are not panaceas. They can never achieve perfection nor can they change the way you feel about yourself.

To be happy with your outcomes from cosmetic or plastic surgery procedures, you need to have realistic expectations. That means:

  1. Nothing is perfect. The best doctors with the highest level of skills and experience in the leading facilities cannot guarantee a particular result.
  2. Exact matching is impossible. Particularly in cases of asymmetry or imbalance between similar body parts, like both breasts, eyes or ears, physicians will do their best to have the parts be as similar as possible, but exact matches cannot be assured.
  3. Results may not be immediate. Few cosmetic or plastic surgery procedures produce final results immediately. Be prepared for recovery time from surgeries, procedures and treatments. Know that the initial recovery period gets you back to work, but the full recovery period produces the results. Make sure you understand how long it will take for both outcomes.
  4. All procedures have risks. Have a frank discussion with your physician about all risks associated with your procedure, both common and uncommon. Then make sure you are prepared to take the risks before moving forward.
  5. You may not qualify for some procedures. Existing health conditions, family history, unhealthy lifestyle choices (such as smoking) and even skin tone could rule out certain options for you. Talk to your doctor to make sure you understand what is right for you.
  6. Nothing is permanent. Even the most “permanent” procedures to reduce the signs of aging will ultimately lose. The body is subject to constant changes over time. Sometimes small shifts occur, like an implant that moves. Other times, the benefits of a procedure wear away, like collagen injections. Try not to expect more than is reasonable.

Choosing a Plastic Surgeon

Three words summarize the most important characteristics to look for when choosing a cosmetic or plastic surgeon: qualifications, experience and comfort.

  1. Qualifications count – Medical professionals in the United States have well-defined, stringent requirements for their professional training in every specialty. Cosmetic surgeons are accredited by the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery (www.americanboardcosmeticsurgery.org) and plastic surgeons are accredited by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (www.abplsurg.org). The first thing you need to do is check on these Web sites to make sure the physician you are considering is fully accredited. Basic accreditation is only the beginning of assuring a physician’s qualifications. You’ll want to go to your state’s Medical Board to make sure there are no malpractice suits or complaints registered against the physician. For a listing of state medical boards, go to www.fsmb.org. Finally, involvement in professional associations indicates that a physician is keeping pace with changes in the profession. Look at the physician’s biography to see if s/he is a member of the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery, American Society of Plastic Surgeons, American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, or other professional organization in these fields.
  2. Experience matters – The best indicator of how well a physician performs a particular procedure is how frequently s/he has performed it in the past. Make sure you ask about the doctor’s experience doing the specific procedure you are considering with the particular techniques s/he is recommending. And don’t just get a count. Find out how many of those procedures were successful. Talk to past patients to get a first-hand account of their experience with the physician. Look at before and after pictures and draw your own conclusion.
  3. Comfort rules – Even if a physician is fully qualified and experienced with a procedure, that person may not be right for you. You need a physician who communicates openly with you, answers your questions and gives you the time you need to understand the technicalities. You need a physician who appears to have the same expectation for the outcome as you do. Most importantly, you need a person you can trust to advise you when the choices aren’t black and white. Be sure you are completely comfortable with your choice of physician so that during stressful periods immediately before, during and after the surgery or procedure, you’ll be taken care of the way you need.

Cosmetic and Plastic Surgery Tips

Here are some tips to help you achieve a satisfying experience with your cosmetic or plastic surgery.

Preparing for Surgery:

  1. Talk to your physician and make sure you understand all the risks associated with any procedure you are considering – both common and uncommon risks. Make sure you are comfortable with the risks before proceeding.
  2. Be completely forthright with your physician about your medical history and status. Something you may consider minor could significantly impact the success of your procedure.
  3. Obtain pre-surgery or pre-procedure instructions from your physician no less than two weeks prior to the scheduled date. Some pre-surgical actions, in particular, such as not smoking or taking ibuprofen products, may require two weeks of time to be effective. Make sure you read all pre-procedure instructions in advance and adhere to them completely. Any exceptions or variations may require you to reschedule your procedure.
  4. Ask for post-surgical instructions before you go for your procedure so that you can prepare by purchasing any prescriptions and supplies. This way you’ll have everything you need on hand as soon as you return home.
  5. Line up a friend or family member to take you to and from your procedure if any form of anesthesia is being used. You won’t be allowed to leave without someone to drive you home and you’ll probably need the help for the first 24 hours.

After Surgery

  1. Be sure to get specific, written instructions from your physician before leaving the facility on how to manage your condition for at least one week.
  2. Be sure your caretaker knows where all prescriptions and supplies are located to help you out. Also make sure that individual has emergency telephone numbers for your physician, pharmacy and local hospital.
  3. Follow the post-procedure instructions to the letter. Many cosmetic and plastic surgery procedures involve bruised or swollen skin, which can be very sensitive.
  4. Be conservative about your recovery. Don’t return to work earlier than projected. Anesthesia tends to tire patients out longer than they expect. Also, go back to sport and strenuous activities when instructed. Be protective of the physical part of your body treated until it is fully healed.
  5. During and after your recovery, make sure you get the most from your procedure by eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, protecting your skin from sun damage at all times and taking care of your body every day.