Cosmetic Surgery: Procedures, Surgeons, Risks and Key Considerations

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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 enhancements.


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 include:

- 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 aesthetic techniques.

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.


In Conclusion

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.

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