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Plastic Surgery Guide

Who is a Good Candidate?

Who is a good candidate for plastic surgery? People who have health conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, lung disease, heart disease, high cholesterol, arthritis, emphysema, are malnourished, severely depressed, obese and/or smokers are not generally good candidates for cosmetic surgery. All surgery has inherent risks, but if you have a health problem it makes it more likely there may be complications. If you are overweight your heart has extra stresses and surgery may not be advisable. If you smoke or drink heavily, you may not be a good candidate. Any and all health conditions should be discussed openly with your cosmetic surgeon so they can help you make the most informed decision.

Smokers who do choose to have surgery must quit for at least 2 weeks prior to surgery and remain smoke-free until at least 2 weeks after surgery, for proper healing and recovery. Smokers have a higher rate of infection, skin separation, skin death, and anesthesia complications. One major study found that the risk of losing a significant area of skin (also called necrosis, or skin death) due to poor oxygen supply with a facelift is increased by 1500% in active smokers.

Good candidates for cosmetic surgery are close to their ideal weight (within 30%), non-smokers, emotionally stable, with low stress, exercise and maintain a healthy lifestyle. It is also wise to drink less than 5 ounces of alcohol a week and limit caffeine. It is important to have realistic expectations and not expect plastic surgery to change your life. A good candidate also accepts the disadvantages of plastic surgery (cost, inconvenience, discomfort, and medical risk). Recovery is much easier with a good support network. If you do not meet each criteria, it does not mean you won’t be a good candidate for plastic surgery. If you meet none of them, it’s more likely your doctor may want you to make some lifestyle changes before surgery.

It is important to let your doctor know your complete medical history including:

  • medications as well as aspirin and vitamins
  • hormones (oral contraceptives and estrogen replacement)
  • herbal medications

These products can interfere with blood clotting or interact with medications used during surgery and could increase your surgical risk.

Ask yourself:

  • Are your expectations realistic?
  • How will you handle unexpected results?
  • Do you feel fully informed about the risks (see General Risks & Complications) and the specific considerations for the procedure?
  • Do you have the time in your schedule for proper recovery time?
  • Can you afford the cost of plastic surgery?
  • Will the cost of the procedure add too much financial stress to your life?
  • Are you hiding your plans from friends and family? This can create added stress.
  • Are you having cosmetic surgery to please yourself or someone else?
  • Do you have a support network to help you during recovery?
  • Are you willing to ask for help?

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Plastic Surgery Before and After Photos

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