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Part One
Your Introduction to Plastic Surgery
What You Must Know

Page 3: What is plastic surgery?

Page 4: Is plastic surgery for you?

Page 5: Are you a good candidate for plastic surgery?

Page 7: What you need to know about risks

Page 8: What your doctor needs to know about you

Page 15: Additional helpful information

Page 17: Don’t keep your operation secret

Page 17: How to find the right surgeon

Page 19: Checking credential

Page 21: What to expect from your initial consultation

Page 23: What if things go “wrong”?

Page 24: Checklist for the plastic surgery consumer

Page 25: How to evaluate a same-day surgical facility

Page 27: Fees and what you need to know about insurance

Page 30: Insurance: what’s covered

Page 31: Understanding your medical insurance


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What is Plastic Surgery?

The casual use of the words plastic and cosmetic have trivialize this constantly changing, rapidly evolving branch of medicine. Reconstructive surgery remains worthy, while plastic or cosmetic surgery are thought of as superficial.

In truth, both terms have the most noble origins: plastic comes from the Greek word plastikos, to mold or shape, while cosmetic is from kosmos, also Greek, meaning to order or adorn.

Early plastic surgeons treated injuries of war. The specialty expanded, applying the knowledge gained on the battlefield to include treatment of congenital defects, burns, the ravages of disease, and, finally, even the marks of time. The specialty now includes two components:

  • Reconstructive plastic surgery: surgical procedures that restore function are known as reconstructive plastic surgery. The goal of such operations is to repair abnormal structures of the body, be they caused by congenital defects, developmental abnormalities, trauma, infection, tumors, or disease. Reconstructive surgery is also performed to approximate normal appearance.

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  • Cosmetic or asthenic plastic surgery: procedures to reshape or improve normal body structures are known as cosmetic or aesthetic plastic surgery. The goal of these operations is to enhance the patient’s appearance.

Both reconstructive and cosmetic plastic surgery and strive to enhance the quality of life of their patients.

Is Plastic Surgery for You?

I suggest that just about everyone on this planet looks into the mirror and sees one thing that they would change about themselves if they could. They see it so clearly that, for some, it becomes the only thing they see. Yes flop may be as subtle as a mole on the arm or as obvious as a scar on the face. The spectrum of concern for such conditions ranges from simple awareness to debilitating obsession. Such concern may lead one to the plastic surgeon.

If you see yourself in the scenario, you must first decide if this is the best course to take. Almost any physical problem that affects appearance can be improved with plastic surgery, but just because something is able to be done does not mean that it should be done.

Your first step is to examine your motives for seeking improvement of a defect, whether it is very obvious to everyone or whether it bothers only you.

Next, study your expectations, not just of how you hope you will look but also of how you expect your life to be changed once the defect is corrected.

If you want to get rid of the hump in your nose in hopes of straightening your profile, that’s fine. If you hope to get rid of a hump in your nose to get a date, plastic surgery is not the answer.

If you want to have your breasts in the large in order to feel more comfortable about your body, that’s fine. However, if your spouse is pushing you to have this procedure to fulfill his fantasies, you might want to think a little bit longer before scheduling an operation.


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Some of the most successful plastic surgery procedures, as you through the eyes of the surgeon, have resulted in disastrous failures for the patient. This has nothing to do with the operation itself, but it has everything to do with motive and expectation. With a healthy motive and realistic expectations, you will maximize your benefits and increase her chances for success and satisfaction.

A member of the chorus of a well-known opera company decided that the reason she was not being cast in future roles was that she needed a face-lift. She told me that she had thought it all through and concluded that the director was overlooking her for more attractive, younger-looking singers. No mention was made of her vocal talent or artistic ability.

Was furious when I told her that surgery was not the best course for her to take. Having dramatic improvement in her parents through a face-lift would still not guarantee her career advancement. And, if she remained in the chorus, she would undoubtedly shift the blame from needing a face-lift to the surgeon who did a “bad” job.

The effects of plastic surgery are permanent in that, while the results may not last forever, the operation can ever be completely undone. Therefore, think things through before you proceed with any plastic surgery.

Are You a Good Candidate for Plastic Surgery?

Once you have decided that you want to have plastic surgery for all the right reasons, you must determine if you a good candidate for plastic surgery. There is more involved than wanting to have something corrected or changed beyond having the money to spend on plastic surgery and the time needed for recovery.