Plastic Surgery

There are few topics that can be as controversial as plastic surgery. Some swear by it. It can restore confidence after an accident or illness; it can slow the signs of aging; and it can enhance those areas we don’t like. Critics are often merciless in their opinions.plastic surgeons

Dr. Anureet Bajaj

People who are considering plastic surgery are likely to encounter people with strong opinions either way and must be prepared to handle them.

Oklahoma City plastic surgeon Anureet Bajaj said it is definitely a very personal choice and one that should not be taken lightly. plastic surgeons

“I believe that aesthetic surgery is something that you do for yourself. You decide what will improve your quality of life,” she said.  “You should do it for yourself, should be prepared, and should do your research.”

Here are a few things to consider:

What is Cosmetic Surgery?

Bajaj said it is important to understand that plastic surgery is major surgery.

According to the American Medical Association, cosmetic surgery is performed to reshape normal structures of the body in order to improve the patient’s appearance and self-esteem.  Reconstructive surgery is performed on abnormal structures of the body, caused by congenital defects, developmental abnormalities, trauma, infection, tumors, or disease.  It is generally done to improve function, but may also be done to approximate a normal appearance. plastic surgeons

“Plastic surgeons are trained in both cosmetic and reconstructive surgery,” she said. “And it is this firm foundation in reconstructive surgery that makes plastic surgeons uniquely qualified in the art of cosmetic surgery.  By understanding how to create a breast or rebuild a face after cancer, a plastic surgeon understands the nuances of improving the effects of aging on a face or improving the appearance of the breast after childbirth.”

Why do I want cosmetic surgery?  Am I doing this for myself?

Know your motivations when choosing plastic surgery. Photo: Goodshoot.
Know your motivations when choosing plastic surgery. Photo: Goodshoot.

Patients should be very clear about what motivates their decision to have plastic surgery and understand realistic goals and set expectations accordingly. plastic surgery

“I frequently advise my patients to focus on the area that bothers them the most.  It isn’t something that you should do to please someone else,” Bajaj said. “Cosmetic surgery is done to improve your appearance and allow you to feel better about yourself.  It will lift sagging breasts, remove excess skin from your belly, or reduce (or increase) your breast size.  But it will not change your life.”

While many of us may wish for the body we had when we were 20, or for the guy down the hall to notice us, or to get that big promotion, cosmetic surgery isn’t going to make it happen, she added – but it can make you feel good about yourself.

What are my goals and expectations? And does it fit in with my lifestyle?

The decision for surgery is an important one.  Your priorities should be emphasized. Ideally, the surgeon is there to listen, offer advice and personal opinion, and offer options to help you achieve the desired result. Ultimately, you must understand the procedure well enough to make an informed decision and trust the surgeon you choose.

“I advise patients to understand what their goals are from cosmetic surgery,” Bajaj said. “Not only must one have realistic expectations about the outcome of surgery, but you must also be honest with yourself about what you want.”

Am I ready to accept the risks of surgery?

All plastic surgery carries potential risks. Photo: Jupiterimages.
All plastic surgery carries potential risks. Photo: Jupiterimages.

Surgery will have risks, regardless of how small the procedure, and no one can make any guarantees that you won’t have a complication, Bajaj said.

“Before having an elective procedure, be prepared,” Bajaj said. “Risks may include bleeding, open wounds that may take a few weeks to heal, or scarring.  Although the vast majority of patients have an uneventful recovery, no one can guarantee that this will be you.”

It is important to understand that even routine procedures require significant recovery time. Patients must be aware of this fact and understand that some employers may not allow enough time off or that a busy family may not slow down. plastic surgeons

Understanding recovery

It is important that all patients allow adequate time for recovery.

“During this time period, your body is healing; if you return to work or regular activities too soon, you may find that your recovery takes longer,” Bajaj said. “Recovery following surgery will vary based on the procedure that you have.”

Some typical recovery times are one week for breast augmentation or breast lift; one to two weeks for breast reduction; one week for brachioplasty, liposuction, gynecomastia; two to three weeks for a tummy tuck; two weeks for a facelift; one to two weeks for a brow lift and three to four weeks for a mommy makeover.

“If your job requires heavy lifting or strenuous activity, you may require more time,” Bajaj said. “Also, while light physical activity or walking is great after surgery, you may require additional time before you can resume working out at the gym.”

Are there non-surgical alternatives?

Some people may want to improve their appearance but are not ready for surgery yet. There are many options available and your surgeon should be able to offer advice on what would be a good solution for each patient’s goal. One rule of thumb, however, is that if something sounds too good to be true, it often is.

“We frequently read or hear about non-surgical alternatives that can be done during our lunch hours – Botox, fillers, smart lipo, cool sculpting,” Bajaj said. “I typically advise my patients that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. One of the things that makes a plastic surgeon unique is that we have multiple tools in our arsenal – these tools frequently include both surgical and non-surgical options, and these tools frequently work in synergy.”

Bajaj said one example is facial rejuvenation.

“As we age, we lose volume in our faces in addition to developing excess skin and muscle laxity.  This means that, frequently, the optimal results after a facelift are achieved after a combination of a facelift to tighten the underlying muscle and skin and filler to augment the fat that we have lost,” she said.

Can I afford surgery?

While insurance may cover a breast reduction when you can prove medical necessity and other reconstructive surgeries, elective cosmetic procedures are not covered by insurance.

Can you afford plastic surgery? Photo: Hemera Technologies
Can you afford plastic surgery? Photo: Hemera Technologies

“And to submit a cosmetic procedure to an insurance company for payment is considered fraud.  So, as a patient, you have to be honest and decide whether you can afford the cost of the surgery, or any potential complications that may occur after surgery,” Bajaj said. “Most surgeons will have a financial policy that will outline and break down the costs of the surgery and how revisions or complications are handled.” plastic surgery

However, when looking for a surgeon, don’t just look at the price tag, Bajaj said.

“Some people hear about cheap plastic surgery in Mexico; however, traveling out of the country for surgery isn’t wise because you also have to consider the potential for complications and the fact that medicine is not as regulated with the same safety standards there that we have here,” she said.

Remember that you are considering surgery on yourself – this is your body and your health.

“Don’t look for the cheapest deal, but rather look at the quality – qualifications of the surgeon and staff, the facility, and the results,” she said. plastic surgery

Do you have the right surgeon?

“We are inundated with advertising and claims about being the best, or having the most amazing results or having the newest technology.  Rather than focusing on marketing, I would recommend that consumers become an educated patient – learn about your surgeon’s qualifications,” she added.

Questions to consider are: Is he or she certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery?  Does he or she operate in an accredited facility? Surgeons who are certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery are required to adhere to standards regarding maintenance of certification, ethics, and quality. plastic surgery

Remember that plastic surgery may not be cheap – but plastic surgery should definitely not be something you choose based solely on price. Speak about credentials and experience; paying a bit more is a worthwhile investment because it gets done right, Bajaj said.

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