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Cosmetic Surgery and Procedures - Topic Overview

What are cosmetic surgery and procedures?

Cosmetic surgery and procedures change, restore, or enhance your appearance. There are many reasons for wanting to change or enhance your looks. If you have had burns or other injuries, were born with a birth defect, or want to change parts of your body for other reasons, you may choose to have a cosmetic surgery or procedure.

What are the general types of cosmetic surgery and procedures?

Cosmetic surgery commonly includes:

  • Reconstructive surgery. This is typically done to improve a visible scar, skin condition, or malformed body part caused by an injury, a surgery, a disease, or a birth defect. These problems can affect your day-to-day life, including your job, your relationships, and your self-esteem.
  • Elective cosmetic surgery. Being unhappy with something about your appearance—such as a large nose, small breasts, wrinkles, or fat around your belly or hips—is a common reason for choosing to have cosmetic surgery. These kinds of flaws don't bother everyone who has them. Many people don't think of them as flaws at all. But for other people, these things can affect self-image and confidence. Cosmetic surgery is one way to address them.

Nonsurgical cosmetic procedures include:

This topic focuses on elective cosmetic surgery and procedures rather than reconstructive surgery.

Why are these surgeries and procedures done?

For most of us, our physical appearance affects how we see ourselves and how others see us. The size, shape, and look of our bodies may affect how we feel about ourselves and even how we live our lives.

There is nothing wrong with wanting to change the way you look. Some people do this through diet, exercise, and other lifestyle changes. Others have cosmetic surgery, especially if they are unhappy with a certain part of their body or appearance that can be changed.

What are the risks?

Think carefully about the decision to have cosmetic surgery. Surgery always involves some risk. The risks depend on your health and the type of procedure you have. They can range from slight scarring to infection and even death. Serious problems are rare, but they can occur.

Also, there is no guarantee that you will get the results you want. Results are lasting unless you have surgery again. Talk with your doctor about the possible risks and benefits of the surgery.

Who pays for this surgery?

Insurance rarely covers the cost of elective cosmetic surgery and procedures. Unless the surgery is done for medical reasons, you will probably have to pay for it yourself.

These surgeries and procedures can cost a lot. Be sure that you know the total cost of the surgery, including the costs of the procedure itself, any medicines you'll need before or after the procedure, follow-up treatments, office visits, and other expenses.

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