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FAQ For A New You - Questions to Ask Yourself Before Getting Plastic Surgery

19 December 2019

The decision to get plastic surgery can be one of the scariest and most exciting steps we can take in life. We may have lived a lifetime with something which has caused us to feel self-conscious and undermined our self-esteem. Alternatively, we may have suffered an injury or disfigurement through the natural rigours of living. Childbirth, sports injuries and accidents are just a few examples of events which can dramatically impact the aesthetic of our bodies.

If you have decided ‘enough is enough’ and want to take the first steps to a more confident version of yourself, there are a number of questions which should be addressed prior to stepping foot into a plastic surgeon office.

What are my plastic surgeon expectations?

If you are in your mid 50’s, it is highly questionable whether any amount of plastic surgery is going to make you look like a teenager again. Furthermore, if you think your surgery will solve all your problems and instantly improve every aspect of your life, you will be highly disappointed. It is vital that patients have reasonable expectations as to what plastic surgery can and can’t achieve.

This is where communication between the patient and the plastic surgeon is crucial. By understanding the procedure to be undertaken and the expected outcome, patients can gain a realistic expectation of their final results.

What will the downtime be for my procedure?

Each surgical procedure has a unique set of healing criteria which will influence the length of time it will take before you are presentable enough to be seen in public without raising suspicion. The results of some procedures such as a facelift, may not be fully observable for many months. In order for you to have the optimal time for healing and planing your absence from work and social commitments, it is wise to start preparing in advance.

Use the following as a rough guide for a return to your normal routine:

  • Facelift - 3 to 4 weeks

  • Blepharoplasty - 1 to 2 weeks

  • Major liposuction - 3 to 4 weeks

  • Tummy tuck - 2 to 4 weeks

What should I look for in a plastic surgeon?

Interview the plastic surgeon personally and ask about their qualifications and experience. Take note of their before and after photos and ensure that you are looking at their actual patients. Ask about the risks surrounding your particular procedure and clarify your surgeons policies around post-surgery follow-up, treatment of complications and revision surgery if required.

Do some due diligence and if possible, read former patient testimonials. These are your best tools for gaining an insight into both the surgeon’s skill and their after-care support.

How can I prepare for my surgery?

No matter which procedure you are considering undergoing, there are a few basic lifestyle improvements which can increase the chance of a positive result. These include:

  • Stop smoking. Easier said than done of course, but smoking increases the risk of infection, scarring, necrosis and delayed healing as well as life-threatening complications such as heart attack, stroke or blood clots.

  • Eat a healthy diet. It is proven that a healthy body heals faster. The faster you heal the less chance of obvious scarring.

  • Reach your ideal weight. Imagine having a face or neck lift and then losing 10 kilos and seeing the re-appearance of loose, hanging skin.

  • A number of vitamins and minerals have been found to improve wound healing including vitamins C and A, as well as zinc. Avoid vitamin E prior to surgery as it can contribute to increased bleeding and haematoma. Before taking any supplements, speak to your plastic surgeon.

What is my motivation?

The desire to change an area of our body can be motivated by a number of factors. It is important that your reasons for getting plastic surgery are motivated by a personal choice rather than external pressure from a partner, family member or society.

Medical staff are trained to differentiate between patients with a genuine body issue, in contrast to those who may be displaying the signs body dysmorphia. Dysmorphia is a mental illness which manifests itself as an irrational view of one's body as being flawed. No amount of plastic surgery can alter this perception and the syndrome requires specialised psychiatric counselling.

Plastic surgery can be one of the single most life-changing experiences available to enhance our body image. By asking yourself the above questions and fully considering the pros and cons of plastic surgery, you are ensuring you will be placing yourself in the best position possible for a positive and fulfilling surgical experience.