What You Need to Know about Cosmetic Surgery: The Basic Facts

Cosmetic surgery, or “going under the knife” is the most drastic cosmetic treatment option that results in the largest improvements. It’s also an option that many people don’t consider at all, for a variety of reasons. Perhaps you’re curious though, about what cosmetic surgery entails.

Cosmetic surgery is the most “drastic” of the treatment options. That is, they have the highest cost, and like medical surgeries, it involves cutting into the skin, which will involve scarring, risk of infection and other unwanted side-effects, and a significant recovery time, during which the patient may be limited in activity. Given this, you might think, who would even consider cosmetic surgery? There are many upsides to cosmetic surgery to take into consideration, especially for the aging patient.

The results are longer-lasting

Soft procedures vary widely in how long-lasting its effects are, but generally last no longer than 18 months. A good model is that of neuromodulators like Botox and injectable fillers such as Restylane. Both are metabolised and absorbed by the body within 6-12 months. If we compare this to fat grafting, where fat cells are transferred from unwanted areas (typically the belly or thighs) and moved to areas where there is volume loss, the results can last 10 years or more quite typically. This is because the body will not break down its own cells.

It may be cost-saving for some

For younger patients who want subtle soft improvements, several hundred dollars can help fill in some volume, say, once or twice a year. When volume loss becomes more serious, larger quantities of fillers are required to achieve the same improvements, which may cost several thousand dollars every 6-8 months to maintain the same appearance. Over 10 years, it may well be cost-saving to undergo a surgical procedure that has a much more prominent and lasting effect.

Surgery can make improvements that are simply not possible otherwise

The aging process involves many changes that occur simultaneously. While the face begins to age, starting as early as the mid-twenties, initially the changes are subtle. At around age 40-50, more prominent changes that affect the position of the fat pads, and the bone receding change the structure of the face in a major way. It is these underlying changes that cosmetic surgery can address, adding 10 years or more to your appearance. It’s also important to note that cosmetic surgery is often used in conjunction with the soft procedures like injectable fillers and Botox.

Advice when Considering any Cosmetic Option

  • First, do your research. Understand the changes that are occurring, and what the various options are for treating them.
  • Ask yourself if you are prepared to undergo a cosmetic surgery. Educate yourself about the expected improvements, requirements, average costs, and risks.
  • Talk to a cosmetic surgeon. Each individual case is unique, so you will need to know what the likely outcome is for you specifically. Do you feel comfortable with this physician performing a surgery?
  • Do your research on the performing physician again. Is he or she properly qualified and experienced in handling your specific procedure?
  • Only you can decide whether cosmetic surgery is right for you.
  • Many cosmetic surgeons suggest that the motivation should come from you. If it’s coming from an external source, whether it’s your spouse, work, or elsewhere, you should really assess whether you truly want the procedure.