Plastic & Cosmetic Surgery

If you are considering cosmetic surgery, you must be honest with yourself. Why do you want surgery and what do you expect surgery to do for you? According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), there are two categories of patients who are good candidates for surgery:

It's important to remember that cosmetic surgery can create both physical changes and changes in self-esteem. But if you are seeking surgery with the hope of influencing a change in someone other than yourself, you might end up disappointed.

ASPS List of Inappropriate Candidates for Surgery:

  • Patients in crisis, such as those who are going through divorce, the death of a spouse, or the loss of a job. These patients may be seeking to achieve goals that cannot be met through an appearance change — goals that relate to overcoming crisis through an unrelated change in appearance is not the solution. Rather, a patient must first work through the crisis.

  • Patients with unrealistic expectations, such as those who insist on having a celebrity's nose, with the hope that they may acquire a celebrity lifestyle; patients who want to be restored to their original "perfection" following a severe accident or a serious illness; or patients who wish to find the youth of many decades past.

  • Impossible-to-please patients, such as individuals who consult with surgeon after surgeon, seeking the answers they want to hear. These patients hope for a cure to a problem which is not primarily, or at all, physical.

  • Patients who are obsessed with a very minor defect, and may believe that once their defect is fixed, life will be perfect. Born perfectionists may be suitable candidates for surgery, as long as they are realistic enough to understand that surgical results may not precisely match their goals.

  • Patients who have a mental illness, and exhibit delusional or paranoid behavior, may also be poor candidates for surgery. Surgery may be appropriate in these cases if it is determined that the patient's goals for surgery are not related to the psychosis. In these cases, a plastic surgeon may work closely with the patient's psychiatrist.

  • Because the changes resulting from cosmetic surgery are often dramatic and permanent, it's important that you have a clear understanding of how surgery might make you feel — long before a procedure is scheduled.

  • Safety

    If you're thinking about getting cosmetic surgery, it's your job to become an informed consumer. Selecting a qualified doctor, with a lot of training and experience in the procedure you'd like to get, is essential.

    Ask the right questions to get the best treatment:

    • In which state is the doctor licensed to practice surgery?
    • Is the doctor board certified? With which board? The doctor should be certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery.
    • How many years has the doctor performed this type of surgery?
    • Does the doctor have life-saving equipment and monitoring devices?
    • Who administers the anesthesia? Ideally, this person is a board-certified anesthesiologist or certified registered nurse anesthetist.
    • What are the risks of the procedure?
    • What is the expected recovery for the procedure you're having?

    Read more about plastic surgery from WomensHealth.gov

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