What to expect when opting for a cosmetic surgery procedure
Cosmetic surgery is rapidly becoming more mainstream worldwide, with many people realising that they are only a few short, simple procedures from higher self-esteem and a better quality of life. Social media, cinema and the music industry have all raised the profile of cosmetic surgery worldwide; rather than being seen as a cost prohibitive, excessively invasive and vanity motivated industry, as it has been historically, consumers are instead beginning to see the positive side of the cosmetic industry.
Increased regulation, as well as the continued development of cosmetic technology and techniques, has dramatically increased the reliability and affordability of cosmetic surgery. It’s fair to say that one of the few obstacles left in the path of those interested in making a positive change to their self-image is a lack of knowledge in terms of what to expect from the cosmetic surgery process itself. In other words; consumers are familiar with the destination, but not the journey.
Working for botonics, a UK based cosmetic surgery company with offices in Harley Street, I have first-hand knowledge of the processes that someone opting for cosmetic surgery can expect to experience. In this article I will provide an overview of the process, with an aim to increase the knowledge and confidence of those deciding on whether or not to allow cosmetic surgery to positively change their lives.
First comes the consultation, giving both the patient and cosmetic surgeon a chance to evaluate the specific requirements of the patient, and which procedures are best suited to reaching the patient’s cosmetic goals.
It’s at this stage that the cosmetic surgeon is able to assess the motivation of a patient; a patient’s reasons for wanting to undergo surgery are an important factor in their acceptance and satisfaction with the post procedure results. The principle goal of cosmetic surgery is to improve a patient’s quality of life and improve their self-esteem, but it’s not a cure-all; sometimes counselling is a better remedy to a patient’s problems than cosmetic surgery.
Once the particular procedure or group of procedures have been chosen by the surgeon, the patient is then talked through exactly what they can expect to experience, including an in depth breakdown of the techniques and equipment that will be used. A consent form is also signed by the patient, though this is often done on the day of the procedure itself.
Preparation and procedure
In some cases, the procedure itself can be completed on the same day as the initial consultation, if the patient is willing; though for more complex, time consuming procedures there will be a necessarily longer delay.
Procedures such as the application of dermal fillers, used to reduce facial lines and wrinkles, fall into the category of treatments that can be performed immediately following a consultation. The simplicity of such procedures is incredible; a topical anaesthetic is applied to the area which is to be treated, and after waiting 30 minutes for the anaesthetic to take effect, dermal filler gel is injected into the skin under the unwanted wrinkles and lines. That is the entire procedure; start to finish the procedure should take 10-20 minutes. Patients should expect minimal discomfort; due to many dermal fillers also containing anaesthetic, the only part of the process that patients should feel is the original anaesthetic injection.
More complex procedures like liposuction will necessarily take longer; but, in turn, the results will be that much more obvious. Due to the more invasiveness nature of procedures like liposuction, they are less convenient for patients, sometimes requiring full general anaesthesia (depending on the amount of fat to be removed). Procedures such as liposuction also require full surgical conditions, adding further time and planning to the process.
For smaller scale procedures like dermal fillers, patients can expect some minor discomfort and swelling immediately after the treatment, and depending on the patient, and the area treated, some swelling can last up to a week. There can also be a degree of bruising, but this is the worst of the common post-treatment reactions that most patients can expect from such treatments.
After care for patients who have elected for bigger procedures, such as liposuction, is longer and comparatively more intense, as you would no doubt expect. Patients should expect to wear a compression garment over the treated areas, in order to promote healing and ensure maximum results, generally for a fortnight, while also taking a small course of antibiotics, generally for 4-5 days. Strenuous activities should also be avoided for around a fortnight afterwards, to allow for sufficient healing. For many such treatments, daily massages are also recommended for a period of time after, to further ensure that the treatment has the desired effect on a patient’s body.
In essence, the crucial thing to remember with any cosmetic surgery treatment is that results will not be immediately apparent; your body needs time to heal and accept the treatment, so patients should follow the advice of their cosmetic surgeon and wait a few days/weeks before worrying! Also, for short term results, before an event or appointment where a patient desires to look their best, non-surgical procedures are the best option.