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Are You a Candidate for Cosmetic Surgery?

You may be a good candidate for cosmetic surgery if you're healthy, have reasonable expectations, and know the risks of the procedure you're considering.

You may not be a good candidate for cosmetic surgery if you have serious health problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure, a bleeding disorder, heart disease, or depression.

If you're obese or you smoke or drink too much alcohol, you may not be a good candidate for cosmetic surgery.

Your surgeon may ask you to make some changes before surgery. For instance, some surgeons ask smokers to quit for two to four weeks before surgery and not smoke for at least two to four weeks after surgery. This allows the body to heal properly from the surgery. If you don't smoke, you should avoid secondhand smoke before and after surgery.

Before your surgery, you and and your surgeon should talk in depth about your health, your lifestyle (including exercise, drinking, and smoking), any conditions you have, and any medications or supplements you take. That discussion will help you know if surgery is a good option for you. 

Be sure you tell your doctor about everything you take, even vitamins and herbal products that don't require a prescription. Some may affect bleeding risk or interfere with other medications used during surgery.

Making the Decision to Have Cosmetic Surgery

Your skin type and other unique characteristics should factor into your decision to have a cosmetic procedure. For example, skin resurfacing techniques work best on people with fair skin and light colored hair. People with thin and delicate nasal skin get the best results from nose surgery (rhinoplasty).

This list will help you determine if you are a good candidate for a specific facial cosmetic procedure:

  • Lip augmentation. You are a good candidate if you are young and want bigger lips or if you are older and your lips have thinned. You are not a good candidate if you have recently taken the acne drug Accutane or if you have one of these conditions: herpes, diabetes, an autoimmune disease like lupus or rheumatoid arthritis, serious allergic reactions of any type. Also, you must accept the risk of allergic reaction to the implanted material.
  • Cheek implants. You are a good candidate if you have flat cheek bones or early sagging of the cheeks. You are not a good candidate if you have excess sagging of the skin, which is better treated with a facelift. Also, you must accept the risk that the implant could become infected, be rejected by your body, or shift to an abnormal position requiring more surgery.
  • Chin implant. You are a good candidate if you have a weak chin or if your chin is not balanced with your nose. You are not a good candidate if you have an abnormal dental bite that requires jaw realignment. Also, you must be able to accept the risk that the implant could become infected, be rejected by your body, or shift to an abnormal position requiring more surgery.
  • Forehead/brow lift. You are a good candidate if you have heavy eyebrows, deep forehead wrinkles, or frown lines. You are not a good candidate if you are balding or scar easily. Also, you must be able to accept the risk of losing your hair around the surgical area and the possibility of having some numbness in your forehead and scalp.
  • Eyelid surgery (blepharoplasty). You are a good candidate if you have droopy eyelids, bags, or puffiness around your eyes. You are not a good candidate if you have dark circles, fine lines, or crow's feet. Also, you must be able to accept the risk of blindness (extremely rare), dry eyes, visible scars, and eyelid "pulling" (which can cause eye irritation).
  • Nasal surgery (rhinoplasty). You are a good candidate if you have a large or crooked nose that is droopy or has a bump. You are not a good candidate if you have thick skin, are a child (not fully physically developed), or play contact sports. Also, you must be able to accept the possibility that in 15% to 20% of cases, additional surgery is needed for best results.
  • Face/neck lift (rhytidectomy). You are a good candidate if the skin and soft tissues on your face and neck sag with deep wrinkles, jowls, and a double chin. You are not a good candidate if your skin is not elastic and flexible or if you are significantly overweight. You must also accept  that aging continues and be willing to accept the risk of skin loss, scarring, numbness, partial facial paralysis, or a change in hairline.

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