(MayoClinic.com) Cosmetic surgery, or plastic surgery, might seem like the easiest way to shave years off your appearance or improve your physique. If you're not satisfied with your appearance, cosmetic surgery may help you not only to look better, but also to feel better. As with any surgery, though, cosmetic surgery has risks and limitations. Here's what you need to know if you're considering cosmetic surgery.
Cosmetic surgery changes your appearance by altering parts of your body that function normally but don't look the way you want. Before you proceed with cosmetic surgery, consider:
If you decide to pursue cosmetic surgery, you'll probably have your choice of cosmetic surgeons. Choose one who specializes in the procedure you'd like to have done and is certified in the specialty by a board recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties, such as the American Board of Plastic Surgery or the American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. Beware of misleading certifications from unrecognized or self-designated boards.
If you'll be having a procedure that requires general anesthesia, be sure that the operating facility has been accredited by a national- or state-recognized accrediting agency, such as The Joint Commission, or is licensed by the state in which the facility is located.
It's also important to remember that not all referrals are equal. Seek recommendations from people you trust, such as your family doctor or a friend who's had a successful procedure. If you call a hospital to ask for a recommendation, you might simply be referred to the next cosmetic surgeon on a revolving list.Meeting your surgeon
When you've narrowed your choice of surgeons, schedule a consultation — or multiple consultations with different surgeons. The surgeon will evaluate the part of your body that you want treated, and you'll share your medical history, list any medications you're taking, and discuss your desires and expectations. During the initial consultation, ask the surgeon:
The closer you work with your surgeon to establish specific, measurable and achievable goals before surgery, the more likely you are to be satisfied with the results. Remember, though, even if you've done your homework and found a surgeon you like — at a price you can afford — the decision to pursue cosmetic surgery is yours and yours alone. Make sure you're absolutely comfortable with the surgeon and committed to your treatment choices.
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