10 Things Your Cosmetic Surgeon Wants You to Know
- Separating Image From RealityEvery year, millions of people undergo cosmetic surgery to fix perceived flaws and finesse what Mother Nature gave them. Unfortunately, the fountain of youth still eludes us, but a tiny tuck here or a gentle lift there may help enhance your image and turn back some signs of time. Cosmetic surgery is a personal choice, and one that could make you feel better about yourself. But it's important to have realistic and healthy expectations. Here, a panel of plastic surgeons reveals what they want you to know about their specialty.
- 1. “You won't notice the results–if they're good.”Some people fear cosmetic surgery will make them appear unnatural. Sure, stereotypes of funny hairlines, overfilled lips, giant round breasts, and surprised-looking eyebrows run rampant. But, "It is possible to produce results that leave the patient looking like themselves and refreshed," says Antonio Gayoso, MD, founder of Gayoso Plastic Surgery in St. Petersburg, Florida. "You're not going to notice the good results because those look natural and normal."
- 2. “Don't ask me how much fat you will lose.”"Patients often think that liposuction and tummy tucks are a method of weight loss, but they're not," says Paul Parker, MD, FACS, medical director of the Parker Center in Paramus, New Jersey. He says patients are often disappointed when they ask how many pounds they'll shed because it's always much less than what they thought. "We like patients to get to a realistic weight for them before surgery, and then we contour their body with liposuction or a tummy tuck afterward."
- 3. “Don't say you want to look like a reality star.”"Society should not be looking to celebrities for inspiration or advice about cosmetic enhancements," says Gayoso. "Setting out to impress others or outdo the competition is dangerous and foolish." Remember, magazine images and Instagram shots of models and movie stars are often Photoshopped to hide flaws. Cosmetic surgery may help improve your self-esteem, but it's important to have realistic and healthy expectations. Discuss with your surgeon what options are really achievable.
- 4. “You're going to have a scar.”"We don't have a magic wand," Parker says. "Whenever we make an incision, there is going to be a scar." Sure, laser and liposuction procedures leave behind only teeny scars, and injectables only require a needlestick, which shouldn't leave a mark at all. But eyelid operations, face lifts, breast surgery, and the like will leave a permanent sign. "The good news is, as plastic surgeons, we are trained to minimize their visibility and make them blend in very well."
- 5. “There is such a thing as too much Botox.”Botox and fillers have soared in popularity but, "I think doctors and patients can sometimes lose their sense of perspective," says Parker. "You see people who look like someone stuck an air hose up to their face, they just appear so full and overdone."
- 6. “Cancel the Botox parties.”A sip of wine, a shot of Botox–parties like this are becoming more and more common. But many plastic surgeons frown on them. "I'm not a big fan of Botox parties," Parker says. Alcohol is a vasodilator, meaning, it makes your blood vessels relax and widen. "If you are drinking alcohol and have Botox, then you're going to bruise a little bit more. Also, I don't know if people make the best decisions when alcohol is on board." Another word of caution: Deep discounts could signal danger and mean the products are illegally obtained or not approved by the FDA. Their use could cause serious harm.
- 7. “Don't lie about the medicines you take.”Make sure whoever is doing your procedure knows about all the drugs you take–and not just those prescribed by a doctor. "Things that aren't often thought of as medications, such as vitamins or supplements, can be problematic in terms of bleeding or bruising," says Parker. You will also want to come clean about street drugs and alcohol. Choose a surgeon who offers a dedicated patient education session prior to surgery, which can help flag these risk factors.
- 8. “Don't say, ‘My skin looks really good when it's tan.’""There's no such thing as a healthy tan," Parker says. "The more tan you are, the more damage you do to our skin. Unhealthy ultraviolet rays lead to leather-beaten skin and set you up for premature aging and skin cancers." So save your skin. Wear sunscreen.
- 9. “Check our creds.”In some states, doctors can call themselves a cosmetic surgeon whether or not they have any formal training in plastic surgery. "In recent years, a group of non-plastic surgeons have banded together to call themselves cosmetic surgeons and established their own board, but it's not recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialists," explains Parker. Do your homework and check your doctor's experience. "Cosmetic surgeons referring to themselves as board-certified can be misleading if you do not know the right questions to ask," adds Chicago plastic surgeon Anthony Terrasse, MD, FACS.
- 10. "We're not all fast-driving, slick-haired playboys."Gayoso says: "I wish patients understood that this stereotype is most of the time inaccurate. Most of the best plastic surgeons I know are smart, bookish, hard-working, and nerdishly detail-oriented. At our best we're pretty serious people. I'm much more boring than the reality TV-style plastic surgeon."
10 Things Your Cosmetic Surgeon Wants You to Know