The decision to undergo a cosmetic procedure is definitely an exciting one. Cosmetic surgery can allow you to improve some of the features that have plagued your self-consciousness for years, so the possibility of a future without these bothersome features can be very appealing. Not only will you have a new look, but maybe new relationships, new personalities, and new experiences will result from the confidence you’ll have after the procedure is over. Cosmetic surgery really does have the potential to give its patients a new life.
While the notion of a renovated self-image can almost be intoxicating, you’ll want to make sure that you aren’t rushing into a procedure for the wrong reasons. Like any surgical procedure, cosmetic surgery is a serious decision and requires patients to take a serious look at what they expect to get form such a procedure. These decisions are permanent – very permanent – and evaluating a few things before you go under the knife is a wise decision if you intend on ending up with results that you can truly enjoy.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) has released a checklist for what they call “Medical Tourism”. Medical tourism is what these organizations call the decision for people to go abroad to receive various cosmetic procedures. In America, this term refers to people who are traveling out of the country (presumably to a less-developed nation) to undergo a procedure. Medical tourism is apparently a multibillion-dollar phenomenon that is expected to grow in the coming years.
Although you probably aren’t looking to go out of the country for your procedure, the checklist devised by both the CDC and ASPS is still applicable to any cosmetic procedure – domestic or international. The checklist makes patients do some serious consideration about what they want from the procedure, so that they are fully prepared once they make their final decision. Here are some of the things that this checklist suggests that patients consider:
Do Your Homework: The Internet is your best friend before you walk into a doctor’s office for a consultation. There is such a wealth of information online that you should be able to get a pretty solid foundational understanding of the procedure that you are interested in rather quickly. Make sure to look over what the procedure entails, what are some of its success stories, but also what are the risks. Even though complications might be rare with a certified cosmetic surgeon, you should still know what to expect.
Have realistic Expectations: Plastic surgery is absolutely not a one-size-fits all industry. The reason that you are going in for surgery to begin with is because you want a unique look. Because there are so many variables in terms of shapes and sizes when it comes to patients, you’ll want to be sure that you discuss with your surgeon what is feasible in your case. If the exact look that you want isn’t possible, you’ll want to know that before you commit to a surgery.
Be Informed: Getting information on the web is one thing, but there’s nothing like a client review to help give a unique perspective on the surgical process. Whether it’s a friend, family member, or surgery forum online, use these voices to help you understand what the pre- and post-surgery experience is going to be like.
Require a Medical Evaluation: Make sure that you disclose your full medical history to give your physician the most information possible when he or she is evaluating you as a candidate for surgery. However, don’t be afraid to let your doctor know exactly what you want to get out the procedure. You’ll want to conduct a candid relationship with your physician so that you to arrive at the best solution for your cosmetic problem.
Choose an ASPS Member Surgeon: This isn’t some kind of hard-sell for ASPS surgeons – these people are qualified, trained, certified, and very experienced in the type of procedure that you are considering. They can ensure that you receive the best and safest surgery, not to mention that they only practice in accredited facilities. Ask Questions: Below are some of the questions that the CDC suggests that you ask your surgeon during a preliminary consultation:
- Are you an ASPS Member Surgeon?
- Are you certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery?
- Do you have hospital privileges to perform this procedure? If so, at which hospitals?
- How many procedures of this type have you performed?
- Am I a good candidate for this procedure?
- What will be expected of me to get optimal results? Where and how will you perform my procedure?
- Is the surgical facility accredited?
- What are the risks involved with my procedure?
- How long of a recovery period can I expect, and what kind of help will I need during my recovery?
- Will I need to take time off work? If so, how long?
- How much will my procedure cost?
- Are financing options available?
- How are complications handled?
This list is by no means exhaustive, but it should give you a solid starting point for learning about your plastic surgery. Plastic surgery is a great way to boost your confidence and self-esteem, but it isn’t always for everyone. An honest consultation with your surgeon is what you’ll need to decide if cosmetic surgery is right for you.