Frequently asked questions, FAQ’s, about cosmetic plastic surgery

Aesthetic cosmetic surgery often can improve your appearance by correcting the irregularities of the face, breast and body, by eliminating some of the conspicuous signs of aging. In a society that places so much emphasis on appearance, no apologies for this type of cosmetic surgery are necessary. In fact, it has become very mainstream to undergo some kind of cosmetic plastic surgery to improve the way you may feel about yourself. Cosmetic surgery is not for everyone, and it is important that the person considering cosmetic surgery be well informed and understands the risks involved with cosmetic surgery. It is equally important that the person have realistic expectations about what cosmetic surgery can or will achieve. The following information may assist you if you are considering cosmetic surgery. Please understand that I speak in terms of the average case and variations do exist.

People who are seeking an improvement in their appearance and are realistic in their expectations as to what cosmetic plastic surgery can accomplish are the best candidates. At certain ages and health conditions, medical clearance may be required. A person who is seeking absolute perfection or expects a transforming miracle from cosmetic plastic surgery is not a good candidate. While cosmetic surgery is often psychologically beneficial in increasing one’s self-confidence and esteem, it is not the solution for all of one’s problems. If a person is expecting more from cosmetic surgery than can be accomplished physically, psychologically or socially, I will recommend they not have cosmetic plastic surgery until they have worked out their other concerns.

The degree of success of an operation depends not only the skill of the cosmetic plastic surgeon and the cooperation of the patient, but also on a variety of factors. Such as the characteristics of the specific problem, the person´s general health, age, skin, texture, bone structure and genetics. The healing process is influenced by these factors and is not entirely under the control of the patient or the plastic surgeon. While good results should be anticipated in properly selected cases, it would be unethical for the plastic surgeon to imply any type of warranty or guarantee. It is best to not think about perfection or guarantees.

During the cosmetic operation in Northern Virginia, which is usually performed under intravenous sedation or general anesthesia, there is not discomfort. If there is, it is easily remedied with additional medication. While discomfort and limitations of activity after plastic surgery are minimal, they do exist. Please remember that the healing process is temporary and the benefits typically longlasting.

Most cosmetic operations, especially those performed near the loose tissues of the eyes; result in some degree of swelling and bruising. The amount varies with the different cosmetic procedures and the individual patient. Preoperative medications and certain operative techniques are used to keep this to a minimum. The majority of swelling that does occur usually subsides within a few days, and any temporary bruising that remains may be covered up with makeup.

Most cosmetic surgical procedures are performed under light general anesthesia. This is a safe, reliable method that keeps the patient very comfortable and still allows for a rapid wake up after the surgery. Some surgeries which are known to be well controlled using local anesthesia can be done with the patient awake and even talking with the surgeon.

All surgical incisions or wounds of human tissue heal by forming a scar that is permanent and cannot be erased. However, care is taken to try to make the scars as thin-lined and inconspicuous as possible and to place them in areas where they can be more easily camouflaged with makeup and hairstyles. While such scars are permanent, these are rarely noticeable or cause trouble. The experience of the cosmetic plastic surgeon is a valuable tool that aides in improving your outcome.

Every cosmetic surgical procedure, no matter how simple, entails some degree of risk and the possibility of complications. These risks should not be taken lightly. Fortunately in cosmetic surgery, complications seldom occur and are usually amenable to treatment. I will provide you with an informed consent for your specific cosmetic procedure. You should be aware of the risks and make an educated decision for any cosmetic surgery.

The charges for the different cosmetic plastic surgical procedures vary with each operation and the complexity of the problem. Since cosmetic surgery is strictl elective, the fees are payable in advance.

As a general rule, insurance will not pay for operations that are strictly for cosmetic purposes. Occasionally, insurance will pay for part of a cosmetic surgery procedure if it improves function by relieving symptoms such as restricted vision, impaired breathing, back and shoulder ache due to heavy breasts, separation of the abdominal muscles resulting from multiple pregnancies, etc. If it does pay for part of the cosmetic surgical procedure, insurance usually will pay the related hospital and anesthesia costs. Our office will be glad to assist you filing any insurance claims for you, however, we cannot fill out claims stating the surgery was performed to improve function if it was not. We will do all we can to assist you and will send all supporting information possible, but we are not responsible for the final decision of your insurance company. It is best to have an answer from them before you elect to have cosmetic surgery.

You will be asked to give us your medical history. We then will discuss the problem that particularly concerns you, your reasons for wanting the cosmetic plastic procedure(s) and your expectations. After a thorough examination of the problem I will give you my opinion as to what the chances are for accomplishing what you desire and the details involved. After our discussion, you will probably require time to decide whether or not you would like the cosmetic surgery. If you would like to think about our discussion or discuss it with your family before making a final decision, I encourage you to do so. However, it is important that you are the one who makes the final decision, not someone else. A second office visit may be scheduled if necessary. Preoperative photographs may be made so that your problem can be studied more thoroughly and will be used for reference during the cosmetic surgery, if you decide to proceed. You should wear clothing that is easily removed to expose the area to be examined. Also, please keep makeup to a minimum if your plastic surgery consult concerns your face.

I hope this information is helpful. It is best to write down any questions you might have so that we may discuss them. I look forward to meeting you during your cosmetic plastic surgery consultation. Michael J. Brown, M.D.