A Simple Guide to Cosmetic Surgery and Associated Procedures (A Simple Guide to Medical Conditions)

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Take the time to think it through. Cosmetic surgery involves risk and expense. It can permanently change your physical appearance, possibly in a way you didn't expect or that leaves you unhappy. Make sure that cosmetic surgery is what you want. It is not a good idea to change your appearance because someone else wants you to or because you think it will help you get a particular job.

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If you are content with your appearance, do not let anyone pressure you into having cosmetic surgery. The decision needs to be your own. If you are unhappy with your appearance, consider other ways to approach your "problem" area before deciding to have cosmetic surgery. For instance, lotions and creams prescribed by your doctor can reduce fine wrinkles. Or makeup may help conceal or de-emphasize wrinkles, scars, and other skin changes. If you are unhappy with the shape of your body, changing your dress and clothing style may help you feel better about how you look. Diet and exercise can often help you achieve the body shape you desire.

If these measures don't work for you, then you may wish to consider cosmetic surgery. Satisfaction levels are generally very high. Your self-image and attitude toward your own body may improve, which can boost your confidence and self-esteem. For some people, this feeling may not last over time.

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You are more likely to be happy with the results of cosmetic surgery if you have clear, realistic expectations and a clear understanding of why you want to have surgery. First, decide exactly what you would like to change or improve. Then discuss those goals with your doctor, who can tell you whether your goals are realistic and how best to achieve them. Looking at photographs of desirable features may help you decide what you want.

Remember, though, that cosmetic surgery is used to enhance your own features and not necessarily to duplicate those of another person whose physical appearance you admire. Get the facts about what to expect from a certain procedure. Have your doctor show you photographs and explain the full range of possible results.

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Computer imaging can be helpful, but it can also be misleading. There is no guarantee that the end results will match those created by the computer. With some types of surgery, the results may not appear for several weeks or months after the procedure. It may take several sessions or a combination of procedures to achieve the look you want. And results are not always permanent. Remember that the effects of time, gravity, aging, and sun exposure continue after cosmetic surgery. Surgery is no substitute for good health habits.

Getting proper nutrition and regular exercise, guarding against sun exposure, managing stress, not smoking, and avoiding drugs and excess alcohol can go a long way toward helping you look and feel young and healthy.

Cosmetic Surgery

Try to have realistic expectations about how cosmetic surgery might affect your life. Changing an aspect of your body that you are not happy with may make you feel more attractive, more satisfied with your appearance, and freer to do things that in the past made you uncomfortable, either emotionally or physically. For some people, the impact may be dramatic. But don't expect cosmetic surgery to solve all your problems. It may change how you look and feel, but it won't change who you are. Talking with someone who has had cosmetic surgery may raise issues that you had not considered.

Ask how the person felt about the results, whether the surgery achieved the results hoped for, and what the total experience was like. Doctors who have experience with cosmetic surgery can also provide perspective on the issues involved. Some types of cosmetic surgery are simple outpatient procedures that allow you to return to your regular activities right away.

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Others may require you to take days or even weeks off work. Be sure that you understand what your recovery will involve and that you are able to follow your doctor's instructions. Important questions to ask include:. Although many types of cosmetic surgery have very few risks, no procedure is risk-free. The risks vary according to your health and the type of procedure being done.

Serious complications are rare, but they can occur. It is possible that you may be putting your health and life at unnecessary risk when you have cosmetic surgery. It's important to weigh the risks against the possible benefits. The other major risks of cosmetic surgery are that it may not produce the changes you want and that it may produce changes that leave you even more unhappy than you were before. Additional treatment may be needed to correct the results of the initial surgery. But the results of cosmetic surgery are often irreversible.

Insurance rarely covers the cost of elective cosmetic surgery done to improve appearance. Reconstructive surgery may be covered if it will improve your physical function or will correct a problem present from birth congenital or caused by an accident. But unless cosmetic surgery is done for medical reasons, you will probably have to pay for it yourself. Examples of cosmetic surgery done for medical reasons that may be covered or partially covered by insurance include:.


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Cosmetic surgery can be quite expensive, especially when you are paying for all of it out of your own pocket. Be sure that you know the total cost of the surgery, including the costs of the procedure itself such as surgeon fees, anesthesia fees, and operating facility fees , any medicine before or after the procedure, follow-up treatments, office visits, and other expenses. Also be prepared to cover costs resulting from complications during or after surgery or the need for "touch-up" surgery. Insurance may not cover treatment for complications that arise from cosmetic surgery.

Some procedures, including skin treatments, liposuction, and breast enlargement, may have to be repeated as time goes by, to maintain the results. You will have to pay for these repeated treatments just as you paid for the initial treatment. Finding a cosmetic surgeon that you have confidence in and are comfortable talking to is extremely important when you are considering cosmetic surgery or procedures. You and your doctor can work together to build a treatment plan that both meets your needs and is realistic.

You may want to schedule a consultation with a cosmetic surgeon. Many cosmetic surgeons offer free or low-cost consultations. Sometimes a consultation fee is applied to the cost of the surgery. No other single thing may influence the results of cosmetic surgery as strongly as the doctor's level of experience. Don't be afraid to ask about the doctor's experience with the procedure you are considering.

Request before-and-after photographs of other people who have had the procedure done. And ask to see the worst results as well as the typical and best results. Doctors with special training in cosmetic surgery should be board-certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery or the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.

Take your time finding a cosmetic surgeon that you like and trust. Ask your doctor for recommendations. You will have a greater chance of being happy with the results of cosmetic surgery if you find a cosmetic surgeon who listens to you and understands what you want to achieve. People differ in what they consider an "ideal" face, nose, breast, or body type.

Your and your doctor's vision of what is ideal may not be the same. Make sure that your doctor understands what you want. Also remember that cosmetic surgery is done to enhance your own appearance and not necessarily to duplicate that of someone whose physical appearance you admire. It is important to understand and accept what can and cannot be achieved with cosmetic surgery, based on your skin or body type, age, medical history, the surgeon's experience, the limits of technology, and other things.

A good cosmetic surgeon can help you understand how these things affect your cosmetic surgery options. Any licensed medical doctor can legally perform cosmetic surgery, but the levels of training and experience in cosmetic surgery vary widely. For your own safety, avoid doctors who are not board-certified, and look for a cosmetic surgeon with a lot of experience. Doctors who most commonly do cosmetic surgery and procedures include:.

You may also check the credentials of any outpatient surgery center that you are considering, to make sure it is safe and reliable. Look for clinics that have a well-established track record for good results and high-quality service, and avoid those that do not. The facility should be licensed by the state in which it is located and accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting organization.

To check a facility's accreditation status, contact the American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Plastic Surgery Facilities www. Other sources of helpful information include consumer health groups, people who have had cosmetic surgery, other doctors, books and articles, and the Internet. But do not put too much trust in before-and-after photos you may find on the Internet. Some may have been altered by computer or are likely to represent an extremely positive result, not necessarily a typical result.

In either case, before-and-after photos on the Internet may give you a false impression of the results you can expect. Cosmetic surgery is not an emergency procedure, so there is no reason to rush into it. Do not be pressured into making a quick decision. Get as much information as you need to feel comfortable about your decision. Don't be afraid to get a second and even a third opinion, especially if you are not completely comfortable with your first doctor visit.

Current as of: October 5, Author: Healthwise Staff. Medical Review: Anne C. This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated, disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use.

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Individuals and Families. Employers and Brokers. Health Care Providers. About Us. Find a Doctor Log in to myCigna. Health and Wellness. Wellness and Medical Topics. Rhinophyma Rosacea. Cosmetic Surgery and Procedures Skip to the navigation. Topic Overview What are cosmetic surgery and procedures?

What are the general types of cosmetic surgery and procedures? Cosmetic surgery commonly includes: Reconstructive surgery. This is typically done to improve a visible scar, skin condition, or malformed body part caused by an injury, a surgery, a disease, or a birth defect.

These problems can affect your day-to-day life, including your job, your relationships, and your self-esteem. Elective cosmetic surgery. Being unhappy with something about your appearance-such as a large nose, small breasts, wrinkles, or fat around your belly or hips-is a common reason for choosing to have cosmetic surgery.

These kinds of things don't bother everyone who has them. But for some people, these things can affect their self-image or confidence. Cosmetic surgery is one way to address them. Nonsurgical cosmetic procedures include: Botox injections. Fat deposit removal, either with injectable deoxycholic acid Kybella or by freezing fat cells below the surface of the skin with a handheld device CoolSculpting.

According to the ASPS, more than , people 19 years and younger had either major or minor plastic surgical procedures in Some people turn to plastic surgery to correct a physical defect or to alter a part of the body that makes them feel uncomfortable. For example, guys with a condition called gynecomastia excess breast tissue that doesn't go away with time or weight loss may opt for reduction surgery.

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A girl or guy with a birthmark may turn to laser treatment to lessen its appearance. Teens who have cosmetic procedures — such as otoplasty surgery to pin back ears that stick out or dermabrasion a procedure that can help smooth or camouflage severe acne scars — sometimes feel more comfortable with their appearance after the procedure.

The most common procedures teens choose include nose reshaping, ear surgery, acne and acne scar treatment, and breast reduction. Reconstructive surgery helps repair significant defects or problems. But what about having cosmetic surgery just to change your appearance? Is it a good idea for teens? As with everything, there are right and wrong reasons to have surgery. Cosmetic surgery is unlikely to change your life. Most board-certified plastic surgeons spend a lot of time interviewing teens who want plastic surgery to decide if they are good candidates for the surgery.

Doctors want to know that teens are emotionally mature enough to handle the surgery and that they're doing it for the right reasons. Many plastic surgery procedures are just that — surgery. They involve anesthesia, wound healing, and other serious risks. Doctors who perform these procedures want to know that their patients are capable of understanding and handling the stress of surgery. Some doctors won't perform certain procedures like rhinoplasty on a teen until they are sure that person is old enough and has finished growing. For rhinoplasty, that means about 15 or 16 for girls and about a year older for guys.

Girls who want to enlarge their breasts for cosmetic reasons usually must be at least 18 because saline implants are only approved for women 18 and older. In some cases, though, such as when there's a tremendous size difference between the breasts or one breast has failed to grow at all, a plastic surgeon may get involved earlier. If you're considering plastic surgery, talk it over with your parents. If you're serious and your parents agree, the next step is meeting with a plastic surgeon to help you learn what to expect before, during, and after the procedure — as well as any possible complications or downsides to the surgery.

Depending on the procedure, you may feel some pain as you recover, and temporary swelling or bruising can make you look less like yourself for a while.