Plastic Surgery – What you need to know before you go under the knife

by Sarah Scoop
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According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, about 9.5 million cosmetic procedures were performed in 2010. One can only guess that this already lofty number has risen that past two years.
How could it not? The media bombards women with images of celebs like Kim Kardashian, Jennifer Aniston, and Megan Fox, all of whom are gorgeous- yet fake. Plastic surgery successes like these three are poster children for nose jobs and other procedures, while plastic surgery failures like Heidi Montag and Courtney Cox are largely ignored…. And that’s a huge problem, because the truth is that not everyone experiences that magical ugly-duckling-to-beautiful-swan story. Sadly, many women endure physical and emotional stress as a result of plastic surgery and learn the hard way that surgery isn’t all that it’s hyped up to be.

If you yourself are considering going under the knife, there are a few facts you need to know. To begin, it is important to realize that plastic surgery does not magically cure your low self-esteem or lack of confidence that may be caused by your physical “imperfection.” Those who undergo surgery often claim that they still feel like the girl with a crooked nose or thin lips that they were before, still full of insecurities despite a new appearance. Ask yourself whether you are pursuing plastic surgery for the right reasons: Are you trying to fix the way you think about yourself or are you trying to enhance the quality of your life by fixing a major blemish? If the first option sounds like you, you’re probably not emotionally ready for surgery. Consider visiting a counseling professional first to better understand your negative self image.

When searching for a surgeon, be sure to do your homework- thoroughly. Ask your primary doctor for recommendations and then look at the surgeon’s before and after pictures of previous patients online. If you like what you see, schedule an appointment, so that you can talk to the surgeon in person and get a better feel for his practice. Be sure to bring along a list of questions that you may have, and most importantly, ask for the contact info of a previous patient that you can talk to. Learning about the experiences of others will give you a good idea of what you can expect in the future. It may be awkward to ask, but consider asking the previous patient the following: What did you like least about undergoing surgery with Dr. X? Did you wish Dr. X would have done anything differently? I promise you’ll be glad you asked.

Depending on the type of surgery you have, be ready to endure some physical pain for a prolonged period of time. Some patients underestimate the amount of pain they will be in or believe that it “won’t really take two whole weeks to recover.” Regardless of how tough you think you are, chances are it really will take as long as the doctors say to heal. This being said, planning a vacation two weeks after a tummy tuck is a big no-no. Even if you’re having something as simple as a nose job, plan on staying in town for at least a month because you never know if serious complications will arise.

Finally, if you are going under the knife, prepare yourself for post-surgery questions that others may ask you. Expect questions like, “You look different. What’s changed?” or “Why did you do that? You looked fine before!” Plan ahead by coming up with answers to questions like these, and remember that your answers don’t have to go into great detail- short and sweet responses will suffice. Then change the subject and direct a question towards the other person: “So how have you been?”

Overall, having plastic surgery is a huge decision that requires a lot of reflection and thought. It is a permanent change to the physical appearance that has defined you these past 20-something years (or however old you are)! A 100 percent commitment to the surgery is essential, so if you’re wavering even the slightest bit, wait until you are fully ready. Most importantly, remember the following before scheduling an appointment with a plastic surgeon: You are beautiful the way you are! However, if you believe that an aspect of your appearance is truly hindering your life, sometimes the occasional enhancement is truly justified.

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