Below are some of the most frequently asked questions patients have about plastic surgery. If you have any other questions, or would like to schedule an appointment, we would love to hear from you.
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The vast majority of patients who undergo surgery do well; however, all surgical procedures are accompanied by certain risks, whether the procedures are medically-indicated or cosmetic. We carefully review your medical history and current health condition before deciding whether to proceed with surgery. Despite these precautions, all the risks cannot be eliminated. It is important, therefore, that you fully disclose all pertinent information so that together, we are able to make an accurate assessment of the risks involved.
There are several important factors that come into play when deciding whether plastic surgery is the right option for you. One of the most important factors is your health. Being in good health greatly reduces the risk of complications occurring during surgery and leads to a speedy recovery. Next, you need to ask yourself what your motivations are. People who have plastic surgery generally find that the surgery enhances their overall appearance and self-esteem. Thirdly, you should have realistic expectations. Plastic surgery is both a science and an art, neither of which are perfect. Set reasonable goals as to the result you wish to achieve and be prepared to thoroughly discuss these goals during your initial consultation.
It is a relatively common practice for a plastic surgeon to perform multiple procedures during one operation. This allows the surgeon to better “sculpt” your final appearance. In addition, having several procedures done simultaneously saves you the expense of paying the operating room and anesthesia costs more than once. However, having too much done at one time can increase your risk of complications. The decision to have multiple procedures depends on which procedures are being done, the extent of surgery, the operating time, and your age/health. Together, you and your plastic surgeon will determine if it is appropriate to include more than one procedure in your operation.
Due to the variety of procedures available in plastic surgery, there can be no blanket rule on age although age will be taken into consideration when planning your operation. People of all ages have taken advantage of the image-enhancement offered by plastic surgery. There are even procedures appropriate for young children! It is important to realize the limitations of plastic surgery. Plastic surgery cannot “fix” every situation or reverse the aging process. What is a good procedure for one person may not be an appropriate procedure for another. We are committed to making your plastic surgery experience a successful one.
During your consultation we will review your medical history and current health and make an assessment of whether the procedure is the correct operation for you. This is a good time to ask specific questions about the procedure so that you are fully prepared, mentally and emotionally, for surgery. We will often plan to meet a second time prior to surgery to address any other questions or concerns you may have regarding the procedure. When a final decision is made, you will need to sign an informed consent stating that you understand what is entailed by your pending operation.
Generally, post-operative instructions call for rest and limited activity in order to speed up the healing process and recovery time. For the most part you will be encouraged to walk but to avoid more strenuous activities such as running, aerobics, and weight lifting. The length of recovery varies with each procedure and is different for each individual. Bruises usually disappear within a few days, and most swelling is gone in a matter of weeks. If you follow our post-operative instructions carefully, you will be able to enjoy your normal activities within four to six weeks. Incisions are strategically placed to minimize visibility, scars will fade over time but are permanent. With certain procedures, the image-enhancing effects of plastic surgery become more evident over time, taking up to a year for your body to fully adjust and settle into its new look. When you come in for your consultation we will discuss your expected recovery period and any post-operative instructions in detail.
Insurance providers generally cover costs for reconstructive surgery but not for cosmetic surgery. For example, insurance providers will often pay to reconstruct a breast following mastectomy; breast reduction to remedy neck or back pain caused by heavy breasts; or eyelid surgery to remove sagging skin that blocks vision. Insurance providers are required by law to cover breast reconstruction and operations necessary to improve symmetry of the opposite breast after reconstruction. If your surgery is covered by insurance, pre-certification is required. For those procedures not covered by insurance, we offer a number of financing options. We will be happy to assist you with the process.
The issue of breast implant safety has been a hot topic for over 20 years. There were several questions regarding the possible association of implants with immune disorders. As a result, stringent restrictions were placed in 1992 and implants were studied extensively. No association was found and in November of 2006 both saline and silicone implants again became widely available to use for both reconstructive and cosmetic procedures. Implants, like any other mechanical device, will at some point rupture. With saline implants, the patient will notice a deflation of the implant, and the saline is absorbed into the body. With the silicone-filled implant, however, it is much more difficult to determine when the implant ruptures and sometimes requires evaluation with ultrasound, mammogram, or MRI. If rupture or leaking is detected early, the material is often still contained within the scar tissue (capsule) surrounding the implant and replacement is generally straightforward. If the silicone material gets beyond the capsule (extracapsular extravasation), removal of the material is more difficult. It is important to talk with your plastic surgeon regarding the pros and cons of saline versus silicone-filled implants.