Plastic surgery has come a long way since the days of extreme celebrity facelifts. Once considered a luxury among older, upper-class women, cosmetic surgery is now common among average, middle-class Americans – men and women looking for subtle improvements in appearance. As a plastic surgeon at Southern Plastic & Reconstructive Surgical Institute in Franklin, I often see patients surprised at the prevalence, affordability and possibilities of cosmetic surgery in 2019.
Cosmetic Surgery 101
When meeting with a patient, I start by dispelling myths and establishing expectations. First, it’s important to note that cosmetic surgery isn’t for everyone, and that each person’s results will be unique to their body shape and bone structure. A nose job that looks remarkable on a celebrity won’t look the same on you, so expecting to look like your favorite actor or actress is unrealistic. That’s also why I won’t use computer generated projections to create digital results prior to surgery, and why I profile real patients, scars and all, in varying shapes and post-surgical stages, on my website. Each patient’s results will be unapologetically their own.
It’s also important to know that cosmetic surgery can do a lot for functional concerns. Time and again, I perform a simple procedure that allows a person to look in a mirror and feel good about themselves, build confidence and encourage assertiveness in a way that nothing else can. However, I sometimes see patients who want to make a change to please a spouse or loved one. I won’t do a surgery unless it’s something the patient genuinely wants for him or herself.
The demographic of cosmetic surgery patients has evolved tremendously in recent years. In today’s competitive job market, I often see men looking for surgery or fillers – subtle changes to create a more healthy, youthful appearance. I also see patients in their late teens and early 20s looking to deal with problem areas early. I’m a big proponent of maintenance therapy and developing a skincare program to address fine lines and wrinkles. Early measures yield more subtle improvements, which promotes gracefulness in aging.
Finding a surgeon
When looking for a surgeon, find a board-certified plastic surgeon experienced in the procedure you’re interested in. While plastic surgeons aren’t one-size-fits-all, finding an experienced practitioner who’s certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery or the American Board of Osteopathic Surgery is the safest route to ensure a positive experience. Patients also should feel at ease with the physician and staff, who should spend time with the patient and use terms that are easy to understand. This is especially important when discussing possible complications and expected outcomes.
Weighing the cost
Price is often a factor for patients as well. Like any purchase, the lowest price isn’t always the best indicator of quality. Don’t let price be your deciding factor when it comes to cosmetic surgery. Most reputable practices offer budget-friendly patient financing, making the best doctors more affordable than many realize. It’s also important to remember that cosmetic surgery is an investment in you. Some people choose to spend money on new cars or material possessions. Others save to create a more toned, confident version of themselves – an investment that can last longer than any vehicle.
Preparing for surgery
Prior to surgery, patients should be as healthy as possible to promote healing. For some, that means working with a primary care provider to get conditions like diabetes or high blood pressure under control. Quitting smoking is particularly important, especially for cosmetic surgery patients willing to invest time and money in their appearance. Surgery recovery times vary, but four to eight weeks is standard depending on the procedure.
Innovation and possibilities
Cosmetic surgery is developing every day. Laser resurfacing can take years off a person’s appearance, while today’s injectables last longer with better results. Other services include topicals, microneedling, and injections with growth factors or a patient’s own plasma for skin rejuvenation. Advances in breast reconstruction include remote controlled CO2 tissue expanders, which allow for gradual expansion controlled by the patient. The quality, safety and durability of breast implants also have improved dramatically over the past decade.
When it comes to cosmetic surgery, the sky’s the limit. If you’ve been considering plastic surgery but are on the fence, contact a plastic surgeon’s office and start the conversation.
About Dr. Brought:
Nathan Brought, D.O., F.A.C.O.S., is a board-certified plastic surgeon at Southern Plastic & Reconstructive Surgical Institute in Franklin. His office can be reached by calling (615) 791-9090.
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