The term "Plastic" surgery is derived from the Greek word meaning
to form or to mold. Cosmetic
surgery is a very specialized
area of plastic surgery in which
surgeons correct undesirable
physical features and turn back
the clock on the physical signs
of aging. Please look below
for an answer to common questions about cosmetic surgery.
It is important to know the facts before committing to any surgical
procedure. There are many reasons
why people desire cosmetic surgery.
Many want to look better for self-improvement.
Others may feel cosmetic surgery is
necessary to enhance their careers.
Often advances in the competitive
business world come easier for those
who project a bright, youthful, rested
appearance. To achieve this there
are many different procedures and
combinations of procedures which enable
the surgeon to create the artistry
and flair that is necessary to make
each patient know that the procedure
was designed for their own individual
needs. The surgeon plans for a more
natural look that can be achieved
while eliminating undesirable features
and enhancing good physical characteristics.
The goal of cosmetic surgery is improvement not perfection. There
are inherent challenges with each
patient such as health, skin texture,
bone conformation, age and the condition
of the feature to be improved. The
ultimate goal is to achieve a natural
improved appearance with a minimal
amount of surgery and a short period
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Appearance is important. The ultimate reason for improving your
appearance--whether through cosmetic
surgery, hairstyling, body sculpturing
with liposuction procedures, breast
enhancement or permanent eyeliner,
is to have a more positive mental
attitude. This is evidenced by the
millions of dollars that are spent
each year on cosmetics, hair styling,
manicuring, diets, health spas and
clothing. Cosmetic surgery is simply
an extension of this desire to look
better. It is a rewarding, satisfying
experience, not vanity.
It is important to realize that having cosmetic surgery is a personal
decision. It will not only change
the way family and friends feel about
you, but also the way you feel about
It is important to establish rapport with the surgeon since you
place total confidence in that doctor's
ability. Select a surgeon who compares
alternatives, explains clearly what
will be done for you and the rationale
for the approach selected. Be sure
he discusses convalescence and possible
risks. Choose a surgeon who communicates
and has a clear understanding of your
You should carefully evaluate the proposed surgery and the surgeon
himself before proceeding. Insist
on certain qualifications. Ask specific
questions about the doctor's training.
Is the surgeon Board Certified? Has
he fellowship training or specialized
training in the procedures you want
performed? A specialist does the same
procedures far more often and therefore
has greater experience and skill than
most surgeons. Does the surgeon have
aesthetic taste compatible with yours?
These questions can be answered through
referrals to other patients, and physicians
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Many cosmetic procedures can be performed in an office operating
suite that is well equipped similar
to a hospital facility.
When necessary, twilight sleep or light general anesthesia is administered
by a competent anesthetist or anesthesiologist.
The level of anesthesia will vary
with the needs of each patient.
The type of anesthetic is clearly
described at the time of consultation
and is tailored to the patient's needs
for surgery. The patient will remain
in the recovery area until able to
be discharged. Your surgeon will ask
you to have a friend or family member
to drive you home after the operation.
Although complications are possible, they are very rare. Most patients
accept the risks after consideration.
A full description of every possible
complication is beyond the scope of
this text, but risks specific to each
procedure will be discussed in the
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The period of recovery depends on the surgery performed. After
surgery strenuous physical activities
are limited. You can resume normal
activities within a few days depending
upon the surgical procedure.
In some cases there will be temporary swelling, bruising and discomfort.
The most common concern is an uncomfortable
feeling, not pain. Pain is surprisingly
minimal and easily controlled with
medication. Mild analgesics are used
in most cases, but stronger medication
is given when necessary.
The surgeon will discuss your postoperative visits for removal
of dressings and sutures. Special
arrangements are made for patients
who are from out of town and arrangements
are usually available for patients
who do not live in the area, or choose
to spend a few days after surgery
away from their families.
Care is taken to place the incision in the natural skin creases
or skin folds along inconspicuous
areas so they are not visible when
the healing process is completed.
The incision may be pink for several
weeks postoperatively, but is easily
camouflaged the day after suture removal.
Complete maturation of the surgical
area takes more than one year, though
in most cases after one or two weeks,
only the patient and physician can
detect the surgical incision. Time
is the single most important factor
in the healing process.
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In general cosmetic surgery is not covered by insurance. Insurance
will only pay when the surgery is
done for reconstruction of deformities
caused by accidents or when surgery
improves function which is impaired
by a physical deformity such as a
septal deviation in rhinoplasty (nasal
surgery). If an insurance company
is to be billed for the surgery, the
doctor's office staff will usually
submit the insurance claim forms and
documents to your insurance company
Fees are generally determined based on each patient's needs. Our
center does not charge for
an initial consultation. All fees
cover post surgery visits. Fees are
clearly explained to the patient at
the time of the first consultation.
At the time of your visit the extent of your surgery will be carefully
discussed and an evaluation made.
A consultation helps to clarify the
patient's desires and the surgeons
plan. There is no standard operation
which applies to the same patient.
An operation will be designed during
this consultation specifically for
you and all of the details will be
The most important goal of the consultation is to clearly communicate.
Caution is advised in looking at before
and after photos. These can often
be misleading and may not reflect
your particular needs. To help bridge
the gap, computer graphics are often
employed. Some surgeons are using
this tool to show patients what they
will look like after surgery.
In general, the consultation helps the patient understand what
can be achieved. It helps the doctor
understand the patient's desires and,
most importantly, it gives the patient
an opportunity to ask valuable questions
and decide if surgery is right for
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|Why are pictures taken before and after surgery?
Pictures are taken prior to surgery to help plan the procedure.
They are useful guides which surgeon
will use in planning and preparing
for your procedure. In addition, postoperative
photos are taken to enable you and
the surgeon to evaluate the results
of the procedure.
You will be asked to review and sign a form that clearly describes
your desired operation. This informed
consent is a legal document and your
authorization allows the surgeon to
perform the surgery.