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Plastic Surgery: A Closer Look At Changing Your Looks

Oct 9, 2007
Plastic surgery is serious business. And before you finally decide to take the plunge, you will want to talk to at least one doctor, perhaps more, to make sure you are perfectly comfortable with not only the particular physician, but also the surgery, its benefits and possible complications.

Vasdev S. Rai, M.D., chief of plastic surgery at Humanax Hospital - Medical City Dallas, suggests you start the process by discussing the situation with your own doctor. Ask him or her for recommendations. When you make an appointment, ask if the doctor is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS).

To earn this certification, a doctor must complete an approved residency program and pass comprehensive testing. Any doctor can perform plastic surgery-- legally--but only those certified by the ABPS have had the rigorous training and can be called plastic surgeons. Any other "certifying" group is not recognized by the American Medical Association.

You want a surgeon who will listen to you, who understands what you want. And one who will talk honestly about the prospects for achieving your goals, as well as the risks of surgery and beyond. If possible, talk to patients who have had the same procedures. See how they feel about the results of surgery and about the doctor.

Is Plastic Surgery Four You?

Plastic surgery, once an expensive subject just whispered about, is becoming more and more commonplace. American women--and men-- are changing their faces and their bodies with the help of a surgeon. Dr. Rai reports that recent research supports the fact that "plastic surgery is no longer reserved for the rich and famous.

About a third of cosmetic procedures performed in the United States are on patients earning $25,000 a year or less. Another third," he says, "have incomes between $25,000 and $50,000." People who have been unhappy most of their lives about breast size, a crooked nose or protruding ears now feel free to explore the possibility of altering the way nature made them. Of course, the cost must be considered, for some insurance companies do not cover cosmetic procedures.

But, cost- comparison shopping for a plastic surgeon might not be a good idea and probably isn't worth the risks you could be taking. Dr. Rai offers a word of caution to anyone considering plastic surgery. "Choosing a surgeon based solely on financial considerations could be an expensive mistake.

An ABPS certified surgeon may seem more expensive, but if you are unhappy with the results of your surgery the second procedure will be even more costly." Even if money is not a problem for you and you have found the perfect plastic surgeon, should you leap right into plastic surgery?

Given good health and an understanding about what to expect, the answer is most likely, yes. But consider your motivation. Do you think that altering your body will make you more comfortable--either physically or psychologically?

Or do you expect that altering one or more body parts will be the miracle that will change your life for the better? "If this is the case," Dr. Rai stresses, "you have more to think about than plastic surgery. Realistic expectations are very important." After all, the plastic surgeon can do wonders for your appearance, but your inside is up to you.

Uplifting Experience

The face lift continues to be one of the best ways to give your looks a youthful boost. Procedures haven't changed much over the years. The skin- tightening technique still requires an incision near the temples, down around the crease of the ear and behind the earlobe.

Sagging chins, crow's feet and those other unwanted reminders of your next birthday can be minimized to give you a more youthful appearance. Although bruising may persist for several weeks, pain is surprisingly minimal. In our area of the country, costs for a face lift can run from $3,500 to $7,000.
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