Your Guide to Plastic Surgery
What is plastic surgery?
No doubt you’ve heard a good deal about plastic surgery. But how much is true? Let’s take a glance at the different kinds of plastic surgery, and some examples, too.
Though plastic surgery is widely known for its cosmetic and aesthetic applications – and this is a big part of it – it also refers to reconstructive surgery. Reconstructive meaning surgery to fix injuries.
And it isn’t called “plastic” because surgeons use all plastics all the time. “Plastic” refers to the way plastic surgery is used to remold and reshape features on the human body.
- Reconstructive plastic surgery seeks to improve function or restore a normal look to an injured physical feature. After a severe burn, a patient may receive a transfer of healthy skin (a graft) from one part of the body to the burned area. The point of this is to restore the damaged skin to healthy order and a normal appearance. Reconstructive surgery also treats traumatic injuries like facial bone fractures, a cleft lip or palate, and it’s used to remove cancerous tumors.
- Cosmetic plastic surgery, however, involves all those procedures designed to improve and enhance appearance, even if it means improving appearance beyond a physical norm. For great examples, consider some of the most popular cosmetic plastic surgeries:
- Liposuction: This is the removal of excessive fat deposits through a tube with a special vacuum. Prime targets are the abdomen, buttocks, hips, thighs, and upper arms.
- Rhinoplasty: Commonly known as a “nose job,” this involves the reforming of a nose to make it bigger or smaller.
- Breast augmentation: This is the enlargement of the breasts with saline-filled or cohesive gel-based implants placed on top of or behind the pectoral muscles in the breasts.
- Eyelid surgery: It corrects drooping or sagging eyelids by removing fat, muscle, or skin from the eyelids.
- Tummy tuck: Extra skin and fat is removed from the abdomen, and the abdominal muscles are tightened.
- Face lift: Extra fat is removed, muscles are tightened, and the skin is reshaped.
The consultation with the surgeon, before the surgery, is an important stage when you will be asked to explain your medical history, discuss the surgery you’re interested in, and hear about the risks. The surgeon will perform a basic examination of you to make sure all’s in order.
Who is it for?
Maybe you don’t like the way you look. Your nose is too big, your stomach sticks out too much, the bags under your eyes give you a tired look, or your upper arms are so heavy with fat that they’re constantly jiggling. Sure, these are all issues that may bother you, but consider, based on the price, the risks, and your psychological reasons, whether plastic surgery is the answer. It just may be. Or it might not be.
Want to know who all these procedures are for? Check this out: In the United States in 2005, surgeons performed 1.8 million cosmetic surgeries, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons)
The benefits and drawbacks:
If all goes well, you’ll have the look you always wanted.
Some recoveries can take a number of months, however. For example, it can take six months to fully recover from liposuction and to really see the intended results.
You won’t like this if you like cigarettes: You’ll have to give up smoking one month before your plastic surgery. That’s because smoking impairs blood flow and the movement of oxygen to the skin. That can potentially complicate the plastic surgery.
The Bottom Line
Plastic surgeries are designed to right the cosmetic wrongs from injuries or inherited deformities. Plastic surgeries can also reshape existing physical features for purely cosmetic – rather than functional – reasons.
*Disclaimer: The information on this website is not intended to substitute for the medical expertise and advice of your healthcare provider. We encourage you to discuss any decisions about treatment or care with an appropriate healthcare provider.