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Plastic surgery can be a wonderful way to take a few years off your appearance or improve a certain part of your body if you have the money for it, and with modern medical advancements, it really is quite safe. However, that doesn’t mean it’s for everyone. If you are considering plastic surgery, be sure to have realistic expectations and know what you’re getting yourself into before going under the knife. To make it easy for you, here is a list of six things to consider before having cosmetic surgery.

  1. Have realistic expectations. It’s important that you are having the surgery for the right reasons and go into it with the intention of improving a certain part of your body, for yourself and no one else. “Anticipate improvement, not perfection,” says the Mayo Clinic. If you’re expecting your plastic surgeon to turn you into Angelina Jolie, you’ll probably just be disappointed, says plastic surgeon Dr. Daniel Shapiro. Additionally, you should be getting the surgery because you want to improve a part of your body that is bothering you or affecting your self-esteem. Don’t expect a cosmetic fix to have the power to save a failing marriage or improve your social life.
  2. Make sure you go with a qualified plastic surgeon. Do some research before scheduling your surgery and make sure you go with a doctor who has extensive training in the type of procedure you’re seeking. Your surgeon should be certified by the American Board of of Plastic Surgery.Also ensure that you are having the surgery at a safe place. It does not need to be at a hospital, but it should be at an accredited surgical facility and you should make sure your anesthesiologist is board certified as well, and inquire as to what your surgeon’s emergency protocol is.
  3. Go over potential risks and complications with your surgeon. At the very least, dissatisfaction with the results is possible, but in rarer cases (as with any surgery) there could be potential health complications, such as infection at the surgical site and extreme bleeding. While it’s unlikely that you will experience any major health complications, it is imperative that you are at least aware of the risks before committing to plastic surgery. According to, there is no such thing as a risk-free surgery.
  4. Make sure you can afford it and don’t go overboard! As Dr. Shapiro advises, it’s important that you don’t overdo it- you don’t need to have everything done at once. Also, while breast implants, face lifts, and Botox can be an excellent option for some people, it’s best to start small so that your features appear natural and not fake.”You can always do more [but] you usually can’t do less once it’s done,” says Shapiro. Since cosmetic surgery isn’t covered by most health insurance plans, be sure to go over your finances before shelling out hundreds or even thousands of dollars for the procedure. You should also consider the cost of any follow-up care or additional corrective procedures, the Mayo Clinic advises.
  5. Don’t rush into it! Wait until you’re ready. This is key. Make sure that you are getting the surgery for all the right reasons and that it feels right for you. Cosmetic surgery is an elective surgery meaning it is not necessary, says Dr. Shapiro. You should also be in relatively good physical health and ensure that any pre-existing health conditions are under control. If you diet and exercise regularly, you may realize that a simple lifestyle change is all you need to improve your appearance, and not cosmetic surgery. It’s also important that you be in good health for the recovery period. If you smoke, your physician will most likely advise you to quit at least a month before the surgery and during recovery to reduce risk of complications.
  6. Follow your surgeon’s instructions and allow enough time for recovery. Even if you feel great afterwards, you will need to allow ample time for recovery, which could range from several weeks to several months. Make sure you understand the physical effects of the surgery so that you can plan ahead to fit these changes into your personal and professional life. Carefully follow your surgeon’s instructions regarding diet, medications, and exercise- your surgeon knows what’s best for you to ensure a smooth recovery with the best results.

…If you take all of these tips into consideration and remember that communication with your surgeon is key, you should be in for a successful surgery!

Originally published on Medium.