Five Common Questions About Cosmetic Surgery

By: Lloyd M. Krieger, MD-7577
  • What makes someone a good candidate for cosmetic surgery?
    The answer to this question has several elements. Most importantly, you need to be in reasonably good health without any medical conditions that preclude you from undergoing an elective surgery. Next, you need to have realistic expectations about how cosmetic surgery will improve your appearance. You need to accept that your cosmetic surgery will change a feature of your body – not change your body into someone else's body. You need to approach cosmetic surgery with the goal of making yourself happier with your body and not expect other people to see or treat you differently.

  • How painful is cosmetic surgery?
    Pain is limited or entirely avoided during a cosmetic surgery procedure with local or general anesthesia. During your recovery however, you would typically experience a range of feelings from mild discomfort to some pain, which would be managed with pain medication. The extent of the cosmetic surgery will determine the potential for pain and the time it will take you to recover. A tummy tuck for example, is a cosmetic surgery that affects a larger portion of the body compared to a brow lift.

    You should also note that pain is typically controlled immediately after surgery with long lasting anesthetics at the surgery site. This process will ease you into recovery. Because of long-lasting local anesthetic commonly used during the procedure and pain medicines taken after the surgery, most people don't complain much about pain.

  • What age should people be to get cosmetic surgery?
    Although some procedures are only applicable to individuals approaching or experiencing middle age, such as a facelift, this does not mean that younger people never get cosmetic surgery. Younger people often get rhinoplasty, breast augmentation or other procedures to change a body feature as opposed to alleviating the effects of aging. As long as you are over age 18, you can freely pursue cosmetic surgery but it would be important for you to seriously consider your motivations and not change something about your body lightly.

  • What anesthesia is used during cosmetic surgery?
    The type of cosmetic surgery you have generally determines the type of anesthesia used but you can discuss your preferences with your cosmetic surgeon. For less-invasive procedures, a local anesthetic that blocks nerve impulses at the site of the surgery combined with a sedative to calm you would be used. General anesthesia, in which you are made completely unconscious and oblivious to pain, is necessary for more extensive surgeries.

  • Does insurance cover cosmetic surgery?
    Usually medical insurance policies do not cover cosmetic surgery. It is an almost universal exemption from insurance coverage. Such procedures as Beverly Hills breast enlargement are simply considered cosmetic and discretionary in nature. However, select policies may pay for plastic surgery costs if the surgery corrects a birth defect that interferes with healthy functioning or to repair the damage left by an injury. For example, there are nasal breathing difficulties that can be corrected with nose surgery, and your insurance policy may cover it. Examining your policy and checking with your insurance company is advised because you can never assume that insurance will cover a cosmetic procedure.

During a consultation with a cosmetic surgeon, it is important that you ask whatever questions you like and have all your concerns addressed. You will be investing time and expense into the process, and you need to make sure that you are comfortable with what will be happening.

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