Cosmetic plastic surgery such as breast augmentation, facelift, and liposuction is always considered a major surgery, meaning it is a decision you shouldn’t take lightly. Not only it involves some downtime, but also risk of complications especially if you are not careful in selecting your surgeon.
Dr. Tarick Smaili, a renowned Inland Empire plastic surgery expert, shares the do’s and don’ts of cosmetic plastic surgery.
List of Do’s
- Find a doctor and be extra choosey. Confirm if he is a bona fide plastic surgeon, i.e., certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and other reputable plastic surgery affiliates.
Other ways you can conduct a background check: look at his before-and-after photos, confirm that he has a hospital privilege, talk to his previous patients, verify that his facility is accredited, and search him online.
- Know thyself. Know the real reasons why you want to have the surgery despite the downtime and potential complications. If your motivations are based on pleasing other people, most likely you will never be happy no matter how successful the postop results are.
- Be realistic. Understand that no plastic surgery can give you perfection, only improvement because your underlying anatomy has a large effect on the final results.
List of Don’ts
- Don’t be stingy. Focusing too much on the plastic surgery cost will prevent you from selecting the right plastic surgeon. Take note that your main goal is to find a qualified doctor who is worth every penny you are going to spend.
- Don’t rush into it. Plastic surgery is something that you should think over and over. If there is any doubt, you have to stop for a while and listen to what your “heart” really tells you. This is a decision that may affect your life and your self-esteem and body image.
- Don’t think that an improved appearance will improve your relationship. Some people think that enhancing their look will change the way others will treat them, their exes will take them back, or worse, their new look will be the “end all be all” of their quest to happiness.
- Don’t have it if you are experiencing a major life’s event. Cosmetic plastic surgery is only reserved for emotionally and psychologically stable candidates who understand the ramifications of their decision. There is no room for impulsive behavior when it comes to surgical enhancement because the results tend to be lifetime or near permanent.
Being an elective procedure, the primary goal of any cosmetic plastic surgery is to meet the patient’s goals and expectations. But to make such endeavor possible, good communication between a doctor and his patient must be first established.
However, communications between cosmetic plastic surgeons and their patients are hindered by hifalutin terminologies and “personal” interpretation of each term. For instance, the word “natural-looking” may have different meanings to each breast augmentation patient.
It is not uncommon for someone to use the term “natural” to describe small breast augmentation, although another woman might use the word to define the teardrop appearance.
To close the communication gap between a cosmetic surgeon and his patient, one company has developed a simulating technology called VECTRA 3D, which uses three-dimensional photography to help an individual preview the results of plastic surgery through the use of different surgical techniques.
Renowned Beverly Hills plastic surgeon Dr. Tarick Smaili believes the technology is particularly helpful prior to breast augmentation surgery in which implant size dissatisfaction is one of the most common reasons for getting a revision. According to a recent survey, 13 percent of patients thought their implants were too small, while 2 percent considered the post-op results too large.
Another renowned surgeon, Dr. Karan Dhir, says the technology plays an important role in reducing the revision rate of rhinoplasty or “nose job,” which arguably is the highest among plastic surgery procedures.
According to medical literature, the revision rate of rhinoplasty can be as high as 20 percent, with many of the patients asking for a secondary procedure complaining that the previous result did not meet their expectations and goals [even by normal standard it is considered cosmetically pleasing].
VECTRA 3D uses a camera that captures a three-dimensional photograph of the patient. Each image is taken from several different points of view to simulate a person’s current appearance, which is also referred to as “before.”
The technology also comes with software that lets plastic surgeons to enhance, or to be more specific, change the size, position, and contour of the surgical site. This allows patients to preview the result of each surgical approach.
The “before” and “after” images can be also rotated on the screen and viewed from different angles, further helping the patients make the right decisions and express their goals, while allowing their surgeons to close the communication gap and explain the possible limitations of plastic surgery.
Fans not only covet the lifestyle and talents of their celebrity idols. Sometimes, they are seeking cosmetic plastic surgery in an attempt to acquire the same “famous” look, or at least a certain physical trait, of their favorite celebs.
According to a survey conducted by the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, member surgeons reported a 13 percent increase in celebrity-inspired procedures. This “trend” is expected to continue due to media influence and the public’s growing acceptance of plastic surgery.
Los Angeles plastic surgeon Dr. Tarick Smaili says that plastic surgery has its own limits because the post-op appearance largely depends on the patient’s underlying anatomy such as skin quality, facial structure, pre-existing breast size and shape, and “innate” body shape.
“It is imperative to have realistic goals and expectations from cosmetic plastic surgery. Being an elective procedure, its only purpose is to elicit a smile from patients,” says Dr. Smaili.
According to anecdotal reports, Brad Pitt, Natalie Portman, Kate Middleton, and Jennifer Lawrence’s nose is the most popular request of patients seeking rhinoplasty, or colloquially referred to as nose job.
However, one survey conducted by Belgian plastic surgeons has found that one in three people requesting for rhinoplasty exhibit signs of body dysmorphic disorder, a health condition wherein a person has excessive preoccupation with her minor or imaginary flaws, preventing her to “function” normally.
This finding, which has also been shown by previous studies, warrants a stricter patient selection prior to rhinoplasty, as suggested by the leading Los Angeles plastic surgeon.
Meanwhile, Beyonce and Kim Kardashian’s derriere has been the most mentioned “inspiration” of women seeking Brazilian butt lift, a procedure that injects the patient’s own “excess” fat to augment and reshape her buttocks. This technique is deemed significantly safer than using butt silicone implants.
In terms of the most requested lips, Christina Aguilera, Angelina Jolie, and Scarlet Johansson are the most mentioned celebrities because of their puckers, which could be replicated through dermal filler injection, fat transfer, and lip implants.
Male patients who have been inspired by their favorite celebrities to undergo facial plastic surgery, meanwhile, often mention the names of Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert Pattinson, Johnny Depp, and Will Smith.
According to a 2013 survey conducted by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, more than 15.1 million cosmetic procedures were performed in the US, with women accounting for about 87 percent of the total treatments.
Breast augmentation was the most commonly performed cosmetic plastic surgery last year, with about 290,000 procedures performed by board-certified plastic surgeons, according to data released by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.
While a growing number of plastic surgeons are using fat graft as an alternative for “standard” breast augmentation, the use of breast implants remain the most viable option especially if the patients want to have more than a “cup size increase.”
Aside from creating a fuller appearance, experts in breast augmentation Inland Empire have noticed that most patients have other cosmetic goals, which the surgery can also deliver as long as with the right implant size/style and surgical approach.
These are the most common reasons of patients opting for breast augmentation:
* Improve breast proportions
Studies have suggested that a youthful-looking breast has a teardrop shape, with most of the fullness in the lower poles. Nevertheless, a minimal to moderate amount of “roundedness” in the upper cleavage still remains attractive and natural.
With use of “correct” implant placement and size, the deflated upper breast pole will have some fullness while the lower pole will have most of the volume, leading to a teardrop, natural appearance.
* Improve the overall body proportions
Some women with wide hips and significantly small breasts opt for implant surgery to achieve a more hourglass figure. But to simulate a more natural look, a good rule of thumb is to use an implant size that is within the confines of the underlying anatomy, especially when it comes to the chest/breast/shoulder measurement.
* Correct breast deformity
Breast deformities such as tubular breasts can be improved by implants, although experts in breast augmentation Inland Empire highlight the importance of adjunct procedures—such as tissue tightening and nipple repair—to simulate the natural breast proportion and appearance.
Deformities caused by previous surgeries such as mastectomy (cancer surgery) also respond well with breast augmentation, which is likely to be covered by health insurance.
* Restore volume
Pregnancy, aging, and weight fluctuations are all tied to deflated-looking breasts. These “cosmetic concerns” can be corrected by breast implant surgery, which may be performed alongside breast lift to achieve a more desirable appearance.
While one of the primary goals of this surgery is to increase the breast size, implants that are too large relative to the underlying anatomy will lead to a higher risk of palpability, implant displacement, and rippling. For this reason, going “conservative” is usually the best option.
There is no significant difference in the complication rate between “older” plastic surgery patients and their younger counterparts, prompting a team of researchers to conclude that surgical enhancement is generally safe as long as performed by board certified plastic surgeons.
According to a recent study presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), patients aged 65 years and older can “safely undergo cosmetic plastic surgery without having to worry about the possibility of higher complication rate than younger individuals” when their procedure is performed by a qualified doctor.
The researchers reviewed the complication rate among the elderly who had surgical enhancements between 2008 and 2013 and found that it was 1.94 percent, which they interpreted as “statistically insignificant” compared to 1.84 percent among younger patients.
Even among octogenarian patients—i.e., 80 years and older—the 2.2 percent complication rate was considered statistically insignificant compared to those experienced by younger individuals.
The median age of senior patients was 69.1 at the time of their surgery, and for younger individuals it was 39.2.
The similar rate of complication between older and younger patients occurred even if there was a higher incidence of diabetes among the seniors, 5.7 percent versus 1.6 percent. At the time of their surgery, seniors also had a slightly higher body mass index than their younger counterparts, 25.4 percent compared to 24.2 percent.
According to data, the most common post-op complications in senior patients were infection, hematoma or accumulation of excess blood underneath the skin, and healing problem.
However, the researchers have noted that senior patients were less likely to be a smoker than younger patients, 8.5 percent compared to 3.4 percent.
Because smoking can increase the risk of skin necrosis, infection, and healing problem, most plastic surgeons agree that smokers have to avoid any tobacco product for at least three weeks before and after surgery.
Patients aged 55 years and older accounted for about 24 percent of all cosmetic procedures performed in the US last year, according to data released by ASPS. This trend is expected to even grow due to more seniors postponing retirement and the looming job insecurity.
Meanwhile, Los Angeles plastic surgeon Dr. Tarick Smaili, who is not part of the study, says the patients’ chronological age does not determine their “qualification” for a certain cosmetic surgery, adding that physical health, current weight, and personal goals are the most important considerations.