Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Is Cosmetic Surgery Right for You?

Modern cosmetic surgery lets you contour your body and fix unsightly problems. But all surgery carries some risk. Start your research here.

Click on a body part and then select a related procedure

Male Female

Are You a Good Candidate for a Cosmetic Procedure?

Usually, you are a good candidate for cosmetic surgery if you are healthy, close to your ideal body weight, a nonsmoker, and are emotionally and socially in good shape. You should be exercising and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. It's generally wise to have less than one alcoholic drink a day for women and two drinks a day for men, and to limit your caffeine. Alcohol is a mild blood thinner. Caffeine can slightly raise blood pressure. So cutting back on both is a good idea before surgery. Finally, you must understand and accept the disadvantages of cosmetic surgery such as cost, inconvenience, discomfort, and medical risk.

Why? It's important to have realistic expectations. Cosmetic surgery cannot change your life or make you 20 years younger. Also, if you smoke or drink a lot, you face a higher risk of complications -- and the results of cosmetic procedure may not last as long as you'd like.

You may be a poor candidate for cosmetic surgery if you have serious health problems such as:

  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • A bleeding disorder
  • Heart or lung disease
  • Obesity
  • Severe allergies
  • High cholesterol
  • Arthritis
  • Depression

If you suffer from any of these health problems -- or if you smoke or drink alcohol excessively -- you face a higher risk of complications. Some surgeons insist that smokers quit for two to four weeks prior to surgery and remain smoke-free for two to four weeks after surgery. This helps proper healing and recovery.

Be sure you give your surgeon a complete medical history, including medications such as aspirin, vitamins, hormones (oral contraceptives and estrogen replacement) and herbal compounds and supplements. These products can interfere with blood clotting or with other medications used during surgery.

Find out more about cosmetic surgery.

Back to top.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Michael J. Wheatley, MD, December 10, 2007.

SOURCE: Michael Powell, MD, facial plastic surgery specialist, Athens, Ga.

What would you like to change?