By: Dr Frits Spruyt | Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon
1. WHO IS MY SURGEON?
It is important to understand the difference between a Cosmetic Surgeon and a Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon.
Not all surgeons who offer aesthetic surgery are the same, they will differ greatly in their medical training, surgical qualifications and recognition by medical boards, surgical specialties (surgical study, skills, and expertise), technical expertise (ongoing education of new and advanced surgical techniques) and the number of surgeries performed.
A Cosmetic Surgeon is a term often used by General Practitioners (GPs) who have an interest in aesthetics while a Plastic & Reconstructive Surgeon is board-certified in plastic and reconstructive surgery and can be found as a registered member on the APRASSA website.
2. HOW MANY PLASTIC SURGERY PROCEDURES CAN I HAVE AT ONCE?
The number of surgeries that can be combined is usually two. When safety and the need for complete recovery are considered, some of the common combinations are liposuction and tummy tuck, mommy makeover, facelift and blepharoplasty (eyelid surgery).
Combining more than one procedure will affect your recovery time and surgical risk. So, although it is acceptable to have more than one plastic surgery procedure, safety must be ensured and patience during your recovery time needs to be a priority to minimize risk and allow the body to rest and the immune system to recover. Very often, your surgeon might opt to perform surgeries separately if the risk is deemed too high.
3. WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO HAVE PLASTIC SURGERY?
There are important aspects to consider regarding the timing of procedures to optimize the desired outcome. Natural aging, weight gain, weight loss and for ladies, future pregnancies, are just some of the factors that need to be considered before scheduling your surgical procedure. You should also consider the recovery time and perhaps the possibility of having to take time away from your family or work responsibilities. Not following post-surgery instructions and taking short cuts regarding your recovery can cause a poor result, and in some situations can result in a complication.
4. ARE MY EXPECTATIONS REALISTIC?
Your plastic surgeon can only control what happens inside the operating room. No matter how great a job your surgeon does, it will not guarantee a job promotion, a relationship, or a cure for depression.
If this is the reason for your surgery or if you are doing it for anyone other than yourself then you may not be a good candidate for plastic surgery.
Do not expect to look model-ready after surgery. Be patient with your recovery and allow your body to heal properly before seeing the results. It takes time for swelling and bruising to go away, and it can take weeks or months for the skin to adapt to a new shape. Accept that you will never look like anyone else. You are unique; your surgery and the outcome will be too. Your goal should be improvement, not perfection.
Lastly, plastic surgery is costly, and you must be honest with yourself when determining whether you can afford it. Medical aids do not cover these procedures and you should be mindful of the possibility of follow-up surgeries.
This is not a procedure to consider should it result in the creation of debt or negatively impact your financial status.
5. SHOULD I SEEK A SECOND OPINION?
Rapport with your chosen surgeon is the most important and often neglected factor when considering plastic surgery. Personalities differ, opinions differ and recommendations may not be what you want to hear. For whatever reason, if you have any doubt, seek a second opinion.
Your holistic wellbeing is of primary concern. As, in all important matters, give careful consideration before taking action.