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    Cosmetic Surgery and Procedures - Important Considerations

    What are your expectations? continued...

    Get the facts about what to expect from a certain procedure. Have your doctor show you photographs and explain the full range of possible results. Computer imaging can be helpful, but it can also be misleading. There is no guarantee that the end results will match those created by the computer. With some types of surgery, the results may not appear for several weeks or months after the procedure. It may take several sessions or a combination of procedures to achieve the look you want. And results are not always permanent.

    Remember that the effects of time, gravity, aging, and sun exposure continue after cosmetic surgery. Surgery is no substitute for good health habits. Getting proper nutrition and regular exercise, guarding against sun exposure, managing stress, not smoking, and avoiding drugs and excess alcohol can go a long way toward helping you look and feel young and healthy.

    Try to have realistic expectations about how cosmetic surgery might affect your life. Changing an aspect of your body that you are not happy with may make you feel more attractive, more satisfied with your appearance, and freer to do things that in the past made you uncomfortable, either emotionally or physically. For some people, the impact may be dramatic. But don't expect cosmetic surgery to solve all your problems. It may change how you look and feel, but it won't change who you are.

    Talking with someone who has had cosmetic surgery may raise issues that you had not considered. Ask how the person felt about the results, whether the surgery achieved the results hoped for, and what the total experience was like. Doctors who have experience with cosmetic surgery can also provide perspective on the issues involved.

    What can you expect during recovery?

    Some types of cosmetic surgery are simple outpatient procedures that allow you to return to your regular activities right away. Others may require you to take days or even weeks off work. Be sure that you understand what your recovery will involve and that you are able to follow your doctor's instructions. Important questions to ask include:

    • How long will recovery take? How soon will I be able to return to work or school?
    • Will the recovery be painful? What other side effects (bruising, swelling, itching, numbness) will I have, and how long will they last?
    • What will I have to do to help my body heal properly? For example, skin resurfacing often requires a very thorough skin care routine during recovery. If you have a face-lift or nose surgery, you may have to keep your head elevated and avoid certain activities for a period of time. Following or not following these instructions can affect the results of the procedure.

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