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Cosmetic Surgery: Should I or Shouldn’t I – Tips for Those Considering Plastic Surgery

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Cosmetic Surgery: Should I or Shouldn’t I – Tips for Those Considering Plastic Surgery

Despite an economic downturn, plastic surgery is more common than ever before. A recent study released by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) indicates that 13.1 million cosmetic procedures were performed in 2010, up 5% from previous years. How does someone know if plastic surgery is right for them? Dr. Tenley Lawton, a board-certified female plastic surgeon based in Newport Beach, Calif., offers some advice for those considering going under the knife.

Understanding Why:
“Cosmetic surgery is often more psychological than people realize. Some patients want to change something specific in their physical appearance to feel more confident. Others are trying to impress someone else. It is important that each patient analyze the reasons behind seeking cosmetic surgery,” says Dr. Lawton. She also urges the importance of measuring expectations. “While plastic surgery certainly can change one’s appearance – those looking to transform into someone else or impress another person will be very disappointed in the outcome,” she says.

The Emotional Connection:
It is never a good idea to consider surgery if you are depressed, have a mental illness, or have experienced a life-changing event such as divorce, death, loss of a job.

“It’s important to understand there is a natural psychological event one experiences post-surgery as they become acquainted with the change in their physical appearance. If you are not mentally stable before surgery, the emotional recovery can be difficult,” claims Dr. Lawton.

The Surgery Check List:
For those seeking plastic surgery, Dr. Lawton offers these tips for assessing the right path.
1.Ask for recommendations – Finding a good surgeon is critical. Ensure the surgeon is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and view patient reviews on vitals.com or healthgrades.com and simply ask around – recommendations from actual patients should be a key factor in finding the right surgeon.
2.Weigh the risks – Understand the mental considerations and physical risks with surgery. Research the procedure in advance online to educate yourself.
3.Recovery time – Recovery time varies for each procedure and each patient, but it is important to understand what to expect.
4.Start with the end in mind –Meet with your doctor to ensure your expectations are fully communicated. Together, you can develop a strategy to get the best results that are realistic and satisfactory.

The advances of cosmetic surgery and the popularity of many procedures among main-stream Americans certainly allow more opportunities for surgeons across the United States. However, there are concerns that the obsession with beauty can cloud the judgment of those seeking surgery. “Overall, surgery can be risky. And, cosmetic surgery is meant to be considered seriously and carefully. An informed patient is the best kind,” affords Dr. Lawton.

Dr. Tenley Lawton, M.D.

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