With several hundred thousand people getting breast augmentation, face, lips, nose restructuring, and liposuction each year and the US spending just over 16 billion dollars on cosmetic procedures every year, it’s easy to think that plastic surgery is no big deal. It seems like everybody is doing it. But that doesn’t mean that it isn’t a serious decision or that it should be entered into lightly. Many people even note, after getting plastic surgery, that they had no idea what a big deal it would be. They’re surprised by how much pain they’re in, how long they take to heal, and how many complications of which they’re at risk. Perhaps cosmetic surgeons don’t all take the time to explain how serious of a decision plastic surgery is because it may scare some clients off. Before going under the knife there are six important questions one should consider and ask themselves.
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- Do the positive medical advantages outweigh the possible complications?
All medical procedures, even minor ones, have the potential for serious complications. Beforehand, you should obtain one or more (preferably three) professional opinions about the advantages, concerns, recovery, etc. Finding the right plastic surgeon can be daunting. Most surgeons such as Dominic Bray answer patient questions, give recommendations, show credentials, etc. Many online sites offer valuable information on plastic surgery all over the world. Educated patients truly have the best outcomes. They often have a good idea of what options are available by researching online and come to their consultation with a list of questions to talk to the surgeon about. If you’re sketchy about any of the details involved, keep asking questions. You should have a very solid understanding of what your procedure is (what it is not), how it’s performed, and the risks/recovery associated with it.
- Have you considered alternative approaches?
Have you considered other, less-invasive options to achieve your cosmetic goals? There are alternatives out there based on discipline and motivation. Have you tried all of the behavioral and alternative approaches available to you? If plastic surgery is just an easy way for you to avoid diet and exercise, think again. Also, if you are young, having surgery could be premature because you haven’t finished growing and developing. Make sure you have looked into alternative options before.
- Do you depend on external sources for your self esteem?
If you are considering plastic surgery because of vanity, and you believe your self-esteem rests on the outcome of the surgery, you may not be a good candidate. Surgery might make you feel better for a period of time, but self-esteem has nothing to do with external beauty. You may have work to do in terms of defining your authentic self and learning to love who you are. Yes, cosmetic surgery can provide a boost in self-esteem and/or draw attention away from a prominent feature that you are self-conscious about, but it’s important that you know and like yourself regardless of whether or not you have this procedure done. It’s important that positive emotion, rather than a negative one, is inspiring this decision because plastic surgery will not chase away negative thought patterns. So ask yourself if this is something you want and not something you are pushed into pursuing.
- What are your expectations?
What are you expecting in terms of the surgery itself and the recovery period? What do you think will happen if the surgery is a success? How will it change your life? Think about the end result before you take such a drastic step. Will it really solve what you hope it will? Consider your goals, whether aesthetic and/or cosmetic and talk to your plastic surgeon about how best to achieve them.
- Are your expectations realistic?
Ask yourself if your expectations are pure fantasy. Will anything really be different in your life after you’ve had surgery? Are you expecting people to be more accepting of you simply because you’ve altered your appearance? Do you believe that surgery will help you gain some form of success that you perceive as unattainable otherwise? Be honest with yourself. Will this make a positive difference in your life?
- Will surgery help you reach reasonable goals in life?
Are there any feasible goals that surgery could help you attain, such as alleviating back pain with a breast reduction surgery? If you are expecting plastic surgery to change everything about your personality and/or self-esteem, you could be very disappointed. However, if your goals will likely be reached after a medical procedure, that’s a significant consideration.