Frequently Asked Questions about Plastic Surgery
Below are some great questions posed by patients like you. For the best
personalized treatment options and answers to your individual questions,
please take advantage of your Passport to Perfection session where you
receive your own evaluation, recommendations, and customized plan to
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Q: What is plastic surgery?
A: Plastic surgery is the medical specialty reconstructing or enhancing the body especially by transfer of tissues due to injury, congenital birth defect, or for aesthetic appeal and cosmetic purposes (to improve appearance, increase symmetry/proportion and diminish signs of aging.)
Q: Why do they call it “plastic” surgery?
A: The term “plastic” in surgery has nothing to do with plastic in the conventional sense. In fact, did you know that the term plastic surgery originated 70 years before the term “plastic” as in petroleum products? The surgical term is derived from the Greek form πλαστική (τέχνη), plastikē meaning modeling, sculpting, or reshaping.
Q: What qualifications should I look for in a plastic surgeon?
A: Yes, it is a must as it is the only board acknowledged and approved by the National Board of Medical Specialties. Also look for years of experience in the procedures you are seeking. Meet with the doctor and his staff to make sure that your questions are answered, you understand the best course of treatment, and you feel comfortability with the quality of care and communication. To verify a surgeon’s certification status, contact the American Board of Plastic Surgery at 215-587-9322 or visit the board’s website at www.abplsurg.org or the American Board of Medical Specialties at www.abms.org or by phoning 1-800-776-2378
Q: Am I too old or too young for plastic surgery?
A: There is no right age for plastic surgery depending on the circumstances. Physical health, mental health, and tolerating the healing process are more important factors in weighing candidates for surgical procedures.
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Q: Is there a difference between a plastic surgeon and a cosmetic surgeon?
A: Yes. Plastic surgeons are medical doctors with expertise in surgery in general and later complete additional residency training specifically in plastic and reconstructive surgery. It usually takes between six to nine years after graduating from medical school to train to be a plastic surgeon. These surgeons are certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and are members of The American Society of Plastic Surgery. Those who specialize in cosmetic surgery will often be members of other organizations and do not complete as rigorous a training standard as plastic surgeons.
Q: Is plastic surgery painful?
A: Some discomfort is associated with the post-operative period and patients report pain and tolerate pain differently. Pain medication is prescribed to minimize discomfort during the healing process.
Q: How long do results last?
A: This depends upon the procedure, genetics and a variety of factors. A personalized consultation can provide a more thorough estimate.
Q: What kind of anesthesia is used for plastic surgery?
A: Again, this depends upon the procedure and the patient’s preference. For minor procedures local anesthesia is sufficient. Other forms of anesthesia include intravenous sedation (“Twilight”), general anesthesia and regional anesthesia (nerve blocks).
Q: How do I know what size breast implant is right for me?
A: The decision is based on many factors including health, age, current size, and form. A consultation with your doctor will reveal your personal options.
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Q: What are the telltale signs of aging?
A: Youthful faces are fuller and more contoured due to fat deposits in the cheeks which are lost as a normal course in aging. Elastic fibers of the skin lose elasticity forming wrinkles and sags. Gravity elongates the face as tissues slacken around the chin. The skin stretches and loosens. Grooves or lines form and the nasolabial fold deepens. Crow’s feet, laugh lines, smoker lines emerge.
Q: Some of my friends have had surgery or injections where the results are noticeable and some have a more natural appearance—what’s the difference?
A: The ultimate result is a combination of desired outcome, skill, and the evolution of products available on the market. Some patients prefer a more natural look. The products on the market today like Kybella, Voluma, Volbella, and Vollure are better formulated to the specific target areas, yield more natural results than ever possible before, last longer, and have less downtime than their predecessors. Much more natural results are possible today than 10 years ago. In most cases, you will look better and more youthful but no one will pinpoint exactly what has changed.
Q: Will my insurance company pay for a cosmetic surgery procedure?
A: Insurance companies cover plastic surgery when reconstruction is necessary. For cosmetic appearance (elective surgery), plastic surgery is not covered by medical insurance.
Q: How can I pay for my cosmetic surgery?
A: Financing may be available. Call to schedule a consultation.
Explore the most common types of plastic surgery:
Abdominoplasty (“tummy tuck”): reshaping and firming of the abdomen
Blepharoplasty (“eyelid surgery”): reshaping of the eyelids or the application of enduring eyeliner, including Asian blepharoplasty
Phalloplasty (“penile surgery”): construction (or reconstruction) of a penis or, sometimes, artificial modification of the penis by surgery, often for cosmetic purposes
- Breast augmentations (“breast implant” or “boob job”): augmentation of the breasts by means of fat grafting, saline, or silicone gel prosthetics, which was initially performed to women with macromastia
- Reduction mammoplasty (“breast reduction”): removal of skin and glandular tissue, which is done to reduce back and shoulder pain in women with gigantomastia and for men with gynecomastia
- Mastopexy (“breast lift”): Lifting or reshaping of breasts to make them less saggy, often after weight loss (after a pregnancy, for example). It involves removal of breast skin as opposed to glandular tissue
Buttock augmentation (“butt implant”): enhancement of the buttocks using silicone implants or fat grafting (“Brazilian butt lift”) and transfer from other areas of the body
- Buttock lift: lifting, and tightening of the buttocks by excision of excess skin
Cryolipolysis: refers to a medical device used to destroy fat cells. Its principle relies on controlled cooling for non-invasive local reduction of fat deposits to reshape body contours.
Cryoneuromodulation: Treatment of superficial and subcutaneous tissue structures using gaseous nitrous oxide, including temporary wrinkle reduction, temporary pain reduction, treatment of dermatologic conditions, and focal cryo-treatment of tissue
Labiaplasty: surgical reduction and reshaping of the labia
Lip enhancement: surgical improvement of lips’ fullness through enlargement
Rhinoplasty (“nose job”): reshaping of the nose
Otoplasty (“ear surgery”/”ear pinning”): reshaping of the ear, most often done by pinning the protruding ear closer to the head.
Rhytidectomy (“face lift”): removal of wrinkles and signs of aging from the face
Neck lift: tightening of lax tissues in the neck. This procedure is often combined with a facelift for lower face rejuvenation.
Browplasty (“brow lift” or “forehead lift”): elevates eyebrows, smooths forehead skin
Midface lift (“cheek lift”): tightening of the cheeks
Genioplasty (“chin implant”): augmentation of the chin with an implant, usually silicone, by sliding genioplasty of the jawbone or by suture of the soft tissue
Cheek augmentation (“cheek implant”): implants to the cheek
Orthognathic Surgery: manipulation of the facial bones through controlled fracturing
Fillers injections: collagen, fat, and other tissue filler injections, such as hyaluronic acid
Brachioplasty (“Arm lift”): reducing excess skin and fat between the underarm and the elbow
Laser Skin Rejuvenation or laser resurfacing: the lessening of depth in pores of the face
Liposuction (“suction lipectomy”): removal of fat deposits by traditional suction technique or ultrasonic energy to aid fat removal
You may have many more questions unique to your situation and your intended results. The best way to get a complete picture personalized for you is to make an appointment to receive your Passport to Perfection. It’s your customized plan for achieving the results you want to achieve. Make an appointment now and we’ll carefully answer all your questions—even the ones you didn’t know you had.