Cosmetic surgery is an elective procedure that alters and enhances some aspect of your appearance. Similar to other types of surgery, cosmetic surgery requires recovery time, healing and care, and carries risks and side effects.
Many people see advertisements and celebrities and imagine using cosmetic surgery to achieve a similar look. But it’s important to have realistic expectations of cosmetic surgery. It will improve your appearance but it will not give you an entirely new body or face, nor will it change your entire life.
Cosmetic Surgery vs. Plastic Surgery
The terms cosmetic surgery and plastic surgery are often used interchangeably, but they have different ideologies. Cosmetic surgery is a subset of plastic surgery and is is focused on improving appearance and aesthetics. Cosmetic surgeries include breast augmentations and lifts, rhinoplasty, facelifts, eyelid lifts, neck and brow lifts, tummy tucks, liposuction, Botox, etc.
Plastic surgery is focused on repairing and reconstructing facial or bodily defects due to birth defects, trauma, burns, disease, etc. Plastic surgery aims to restore normal functions of the body and is typically not elective. Plastic surgeries include breast reconstruction, burn repair, congenital defect repairs (cleft palate), hand surgery, scar revision surgery, etc.
Plastic surgeons become board certified in plastic surgery by completing a general surgery residency and an additional 2 years in plastic surgery. Cosmetic surgeons often receive training but there is no rigorous schooling or mandatory certification process. Cosmetic surgeons can be general surgeons, dermatologists, family physicians, etc.
Facial injectables, lip enhancements, chemical peels, and microdermabrasion are often advertised as cosmetic surgery. They do enhance features in the face and offer desired results, but they are not surgical procedures. Most are injections, which can take up to 20 minutes each, and require only light healing.
What Cosmetic Surgery Isn’t
Cosmetic surgery isn’t a quick fix for your problems and it won’t make life perfect. Those with unrealistic expectations, high standards, who are going through a crisis, or are obsessed with a small defect should consider learning to love their body before undergoing major surgery. It is also not a weight loss routine. Cosmetic surgery can be used to help remove those last few pounds after diet and exercise or to enhance facial features or remove some of the signs of aging. It can certainly bolster confidence but patients who are unhappy with themselves will likely not find peace with dramatic and permanent changes. It’s important to have a strong understanding of what you are looking to change, how cosmetic surgery will fix that, and how you will look and feel after surgery.