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Cosmetic surgery: What to know beforehand
Cosmetic surgery can help improve your appearance, but it's not for everyone. Know what to consider before surgery, how to find a surgeon and what questions to ask.By Mayo Clinic staff
Cosmetic surgery, or plastic surgery, might seem like the easiest way to shave years off your appearance or improve your physique. If you're not satisfied with your appearance, cosmetic surgery might help you look and feel better.
Cosmetic surgery, however, has risks and limitations. If you're considering cosmetic surgery, here's what you need to know.
Factors to consider
Cosmetic surgery changes your appearance by altering parts of your body that function normally but don't look the way you want. Before you proceed with cosmetic surgery, consider:
- Your expectations. Anticipate improvement, not perfection. If you expect cosmetic surgery to turn you into a movie star, you're bound to be disappointed. Don't count on surgery to save a rocky relationship, gain a promotion or improve your social life.
- Expense. Cosmetic surgery isn't covered by most health insurance plans. The cost varies depending on the procedure, ranging from hundreds to thousands of dollars. Also, consider the cost of any follow-up care or additional corrective procedures.
- Risks. Dissatisfaction is possible after any type of cosmetic surgery. Surgical complications are possible, too — including excessive bleeding or infection at the surgical site.
- Recovery. After cosmetic surgery, you might need days, weeks or even months to recover. Understand the physical effects that might be part of your recovery, as well as how the surgery might affect aspects of your personal and professional life.
- Psychological changes. Your self-esteem might improve after cosmetic surgery, but cosmetic surgery isn't likely to relieve depression or other mental health conditions.
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- Choose a surgeon you trust. American Society of Plastic Surgeons. http://www.plasticsurgery.org/Articles-and-Galleries/Patient-and-Consumer-Information/Patient-Safety.html. Accessed Jan. 11, 2013.
- Accredited facilities. American Society of Plastic Surgeons. http://www.plasticsurgery.org/articles-and-galleries/patient-and-consumer-information/patient-safety.html?sub=Accredited%20facilities. Accessed Jan. 11, 2013.
- Your health and safety. American Society of Plastic Surgeons. http://www.plasticsurgery.org/articles-and-galleries/patient-and-consumer-information/patient-safety.html?sub=Your%20health%20and%20safety. Accessed Jan. 11, 2013.
- Important facts about the safety and risks of plastic surgery. American Society of Plastic Surgeons. http://www.plasticsurgery.org/articles-and-galleries/patient-and-consumer-information/patient-safety.html?sub=Important%20facts%20about%20the%20safety%20and%20risks%20of%20plastic%20surgery. Accessed Jan. 11, 2013.
- Frequently asked questions about the AAFPRS. American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. http://www.aafprs.org/patient/procedures/faq.html. Accessed Jan. 11, 2013.
- Keyes GR, et al. Analysis of outpatient surgery center safety using an Internet-based quality improvement and peer review program. Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. 2004;113:1760.
- Moss TP, et al. Psychological change after aesthetic plastic surgery: A prospective controlled outcome study. Psychology, Health and Medicine. 2009;14:567.
- Chung KC, et al. Plastic Surgery: Indications and Practice. Edinburgh, Scotland: Saunders/Elsevier; 2009:7.
- Sykes JM. Managing the psychological aspects of plastic surgery patients. Current Opinion in Otolaryngology and Head and Neck Surgery. 2009;17:321.
- Questions to ask my plastic surgeon. American Society of Plastic Surgeons. http://www.plasticsurgery.org/articles-and-galleries/patient-and-consumer-information/patient-safety.html?sub=Questions%20to%20ask%20my%20plastic%20surgeon. Accessed Jan. 11, 2013.
- Cosmetic procedure questions. American Society for Dermatologic Surgery. http://www.asds.net/PatientSafetyPreProcedureQuestionnaire.aspx. Accessed Jan. 24, 2013.
- Roenigk RK, et al. Roenigk's Dermatologic Surgery: Current Techniques in Procedural Dermatology. New York, N.Y.: Informa Healthcare; 2007:756.