Choosing plastic surgery or cosmetic alteration of any part of your body is an extremely personal decision. While a surgical procedure to correct damage or remove a benign or malignant growth may well be worth the surgical risk, going under the knife to deal with chin sag, small breasts or a bulging tummy may seem excessively risky to an outsider.
Patient Concerns: Poor Outcome
When reviewing the decision to have your nose shape changed or reviewing the pros and cons of breast augmentation, clients are often most worried about a poor cosmetic outcome.
For example, if you have become dissatisfied with the shape of your breasts after children, you may want an augmentation procedure to lift and reshape the breast tissue. While this can help you to
- Feel more confident in your shape
- Be happier with the fit of your clothing
- Enjoy firmer breasts over time
However, long term risks of breast implants include
- Loss of sensitivity and asymmetry
- Mammogram challenges in the future
- A poor reaction to the implant itself
While many people considering cosmetic surgery are excited about the change following a surgery, they may not fully understand how the procedure will impact their appearance in years to come.
One of the most obvious risks of cosmetic surgery is that of nerve damage. If you are considering surgery on your face, being fully aware of the risks of nerve damage around the eyes or the mouth in particular will need to be explained and understood.
In the event that a facial nerve is severed, the patient may face a
- Loss of sensation
- Loss of motion, such as smiling or winking
- Muscle droop
Your surgical consultation can prepare you for these risks and lessen your concern. However, the risk of nerve damage should never be swept aside when preparing for a procedure.
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Any time the skin is pierced, your risk of infection goes up. Because so many cosmetic procedures are done on an outpatient basis, the burden of keeping the wound clean falls on the patient. During your pre-surgery preparation time, you should get a checklist of products to avoid, activities to avoid in your recovery time, and the steps you need to take to keep the wound clean.
You may also be given a prescription for antibiotics to take during your recovery time. Make sure you notify your physician of any allergic risks to pain meds or antibiotics in your pre-surgical consultation.
Prepping for Down Time and Recovery
Your recovery time will likely include discomfort. Depending on your procedure, you will need to be ready to ice the incision site, remove dressings, and clean the stitches.
One of the biggest challenges following a cosmetic procedure on your face is that you will need to sleep with your head elevated. If you have work done on your neck or under your chin, you may need to avoid a lot of head turning. Be ready to practice sleeping on a wedge pillow. Lay in a supply of button front shirts to avoid having to pull anything over your head and risk bumping your face.
Many who choose to get cosmetic surgery are older. The number of older folks who live alone, particularly in the United States, is on the rise.
If you are considering cosmetic surgery to address tissue droop or wrinkles, you will need monitoring after your procedure. Even if you don’t develop an infection, you could develop
- An hematoma, or blood bubble under the surgical site
- A blood clot, which can cut off blood flow
- A seroma, or build-up of lymphatic fluid at the site
Any of these conditions could lead to a blockage of blood flow and put you at risk of tissue death or necrosis. While a small amount of tissue death can be easily dealt with, a large amount of damage could lead to pitting, scarring, infection or even death.
Going home alone after any surgical procedure is an unnecessary danger. You don’t have to have a skilled caregiver staying with your after your procedure, but having a friend or family member stay over who can monitor your condition for any changes, help you stay hydrated and help you manage your food and drink just for 24 hours can greatly reduce your risk.
Do Your Homework
Before you choose to undergo cosmetic surgery, make sure that you are fully aware of what you need to do to prepare. This includes increasing your wellness overall before the procedure, including
- Increasing your water intake
- Cutting back on alcohol
- Boosting your intake of antioxidants
Your pre-surgery time is also a wonderful time to find a sunscreen that works on your face if you don’t already have one. You can take this time to clean your sleeping and recovery area, get used to sleeping with your head elevated, and quit smoking if you haven’t already.
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Choose a Professional You Trust
Your consultation will allow you to check out the credentials of your surgeon. If your procedure will be done in office, make sure that the facility is also accredited.
Again, any breaking of the skin creates a greater risk of infection. While your risk of severe complication is extremely low during an outpatient cosmetic procedure, you need to go into your procedure with as much confidence in the facility as you have in your surgeon.
A fully accredited facility will
- Confirm that you will be properly prepared for the procedure
- Fully monitored after the surgery
- Cared for in a fully disinfected environment
If you are high risk, your procedure may need to be done in a hospital. Your consultation time is when you need to discuss these risks and prepare for all outcomes.
Getting a cosmetic procedure done is extremely personal. Your confidence in your appearance is well worth the risk. With the right prep work, you can greatly reduce your risks.