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October 24, 2023

What is the Proper Time for Plastic Surgery

We all have something about our faces or bodies that we wouldn’t mind improving. Typically, a cream, haircut or new outfit can improve our self-confidence. But what if you have something that only surgery can help with?

We all have something about our faces or bodies that we wouldn’t mind improving. Typically, a cream, haircut or new outfit can improve our self-confidence. But what if you have something that only surgery can help with? What if your breasts were ridiculously too large for your frame and giving you constant back pain and headaches? Or if your tummy had 10 lb of extra hanging skin that you just can’t get rid of? Or if your face prematurely aged and makes you insecure as you try to stay competitive in a modern work environment filled with younger colleagues? Whatever drives you to pursue plastic surgery, you must do the following 6 steps for the best ultimate result:

1.     Decide if plastic surgery is worth it.

A simple gauge that I tell all my patients at consultation is to ask yourself, “Does this [problem] bother me each and every day?” Each time you look in a mirror, get dressed, try to get intimate, look at a photo of yourself, does this issue bother you? If the answer is yes, then plastic surgery may be in your future. But if the answer is no, it is not yet time for plastic surgery. Surgery comes with potential real risk and complications. Unless your desires are THAT strong where you are psychologically distressed daily by the issue, plastic surgery may not be the answer at this time.

2.     Find the best plastic surgeon for you.

Your plastic surgeon should be Board Certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. Please refer to our previous blog, titled, “How to Pick a Plastic Surgeon.” In addition to being appropriately trained to perform your plastic surgery, you should also connect with your plastic surgeon. They should give you the feeling that they genuinely care about your well-being. That they won’t just operate on you and treat you like a number or a sale. They should understand on a human level what this surgery means to you. They should offer you a surgical plan that you understand and feel comfortable with. See at least 3 plastic surgeons to make sure that you see what options are out there. Lastly, their office should NEVER hustle you. Do not feel pressured to make a decision THAT day. Even if they have some magical date and will give you a discount. They should understand that this is a life-altering decision that should not be made hastily. If you have to wait for a plastic surgeon, it means they are well-sought after and for good reason.

3.     Optimize your health.

Since plastic surgery is completely elective, meaning you are choosing to do this, it is important that your body and mind are in tip top shape. Your plastic surgeon may order some basic labs and check your breast tissue with imaging to make sure there is nothing concerning ahead of time. You should be getting to your goal weight in a healthy manner. Yo-yo and fad diets are not sustainable and can actually leave your tissues malnourished even if you are losing weight. If you are deficient in protein, large incisions can break down. You should be as fit as you can since you will not be able to exercise for 6-8 weeks and may become deconditioned. Lastly, being a patient postoperatively is a big mind game. The difficulty is not the physical pain; rather, it is the pain of becoming completely dependent on others for activities that are everyday and so simple.

4.     Recruit proper help for home.

You do not want to jeopardize your results by not respecting the healing process. You should not be cooking, cleaning, vacuuming, doing laundry, engaging in chores of any kind for the first 4-6 weeks, depending on what your plastic surgeon says. If you have children, please plan for appropriate care and driving arrangements for them to decrease “mom guilt.” Depending on the severity of your surgery, you will need at least 2 people to give you your medication, bathe you, help you use the restroom, cook for you, etc. Yes, you will become a dependent toddler in the postoperative period. Embrace it. Don’t fight it.

5.     Put your responsibilities on the backburner.

Get the necessary time off from work. You should have 6-8 weeks off of work, when possible. Your plastic surgeon can likely write for disability. Your place of work does not have to know and will not know what procedure you had. If you work remotely, you may be able to “return to work” from the comfort of your home after Postoperative Week 2. Even if you had a facial surgery, you may look good enough to appear on Zoom (just don’t sit too closely!).

6.     Get your finances in order.

You should never go broke for your plastic surgery. Ask your plastic surgeon’s coordinator about financing options. There are 0% interest free options with certain carriers such as Care Credit or Alphaeon. Sometimes, there are cash options that provide a discount as well. It is important to pick the best option for you and your family. You should never be financially strained because of an elective surgery. Some of our patients have a “jar” that they put money away into as their surgery fund. This tends to work well. In addition, ask your plastic surgeon what financial responsibilities are entailed if complications should occur. Some plastic surgeons offer an extra cosmetic insurance to help cover the cost of certain complications.

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