Cosmetic surgery refers to surgical procedures that improve the appearance of the
face or part of the body, such as a facelift or breast lift. Unlike
reconstructive surgery, which aims to restore function, cosmetic surgery
focuses on enhancing aesthetics and self-image. From minimally invasive
treatments like Botox to more complex surgeries, cosmetic procedures continue
to grow in popularity. But with many options and surgeons available, it's
important to understand key considerations before going under the knife. This
article provides an overview of common cosmetic surgery procedures, questions
to ask potential surgeons, and factors to weigh when considering cosmetic
What Procedures Fall Under "Cosmetic Surgery"?
There is sometimes confusion over the difference between
cosmetic and plastic surgery. Plastic surgery encompasses both reconstructive
and cosmetic operations. Cosmetic surgery focuses on elective and minimally
invasive procedures to enhance one's appearance and self-confidence.
Some of the most popular cosmetic surgery procedures
- Breast augmentation (implants)
- Liposuction to remove fat deposits
- Tummy tucks
- Eyelid surgery
- Face or neck lifts
- Nose reshaping
- Botox injections
- Laser skin resurfacing
- Butt lifts with fat transfers
Surgical and non-surgical treatments like facial fillers fall
under cosmetic surgery. In 2021, over $16 billion was spent on the top
minimally invasive procedures alone.
What Kind of Training Does a Cosmetic Surgeon Have?
Given the risks involved in any surgical procedure,
selecting a properly credentialed and experienced cosmetic surgeon is crucial.
Ideal credentials include:
- Certification from the American Board of Plastic Surgery
- Membership in the American Society of Plastic Surgeons
- Years of residency training in plastic surgery
Additionally, many cosmetic surgeons elect to complete extra
training in cosmetic fellowships or residencies after their general surgery
requirements. These extra programs allow surgeons to specialize further in
When searching for a qualified cosmetic surgeon, ask about
their specific training and experience in performing your desired procedures.
Never be afraid to ask detailed questions upfront or to seek second opinions.
What Should I Consider When Weighing Cosmetic Surgery?
Many cosmetic surgeries offer an opportunity for renewal and increased confidence. But it
also carries risks, requires healing time, and represents a significant
financial investment. Key things to consider include:
What Are Realistic Outcomes?
Discuss expected outcomes thoroughly with your surgeon.
Understand limitations and likely results, given your unique anatomy and facial
features. View before and after photos of actual patients to calibrate
expectations. Small tweaks can sometimes yield dramatic improvements, but be
wary of miracles.
Do I Understand All Risks and Complications?
While often minimized, every surgery carries risks like infection,
scarring, anesthesia complications, and even death in rare cases. Specific
procedures also have unique adverse outcomes. Do your own research and openly
discuss potential issues with your doctor.
Is This Something I Truly Want For Me?
Cosmetic surgery is highly personal. Carefully examine your
motivations and whether you feel fully comfortable with changes to your
appearance. Take time for self-reflection to determine if this is the right
choice before committing.
Can I Afford the Required Aftercare and Fees?
When budgeting, factor in surgical fees, anesthesia,
operating room costs, and potential hospital stays. Most importantly, be ready
to take off ample work time for proper rest and healing post-operation.
Recovery is crucial to realizing surgery goals and preventing problems.
Cosmetic surgery encompasses many procedures that enhance
the body and face. When performed by a qualified, board-certified cosmetic
surgeon, many of these minimally invasive and surgical options are relatively
safe with moderate risks. Still, each procedure and patient is unique. Do your
research, understand expected outcomes and complications, check credentials,
get pricing transparency, and ask many questions. Cosmetic surgery can provide
life-changing improvements in appearance and confidence when done for the right
reasons and with full information.