What is plastic surgery?
Plastic surgery is derived from the Greek word plastikos, which means to mold or shape. First developed to close complicated wounds or replace tissue from injuries or the removal of tumors, plastic surgery involved the use of skin and tissue to reshape or mold an affected area.
In recent years, plastic surgeons have become even more adept at skillful techniques to improve the function and appearance of body structures.
Plastic Surgery at Summit Medical Group includes procedures for cosmetic, reconstructive, and hand surgery. It can involve small changes or procedures such as facial rejuvenation, body contouring, and cosmetic and reconstructive breast surgery, among others, to enhance your overall appearance.
How do cosmetic and reconstructive surgery differ?
Cosmetic surgery is used to improve or reshape normal body structures to enhance a person’s appearance. Because it is typically considered elective, cosmetic surgery is usually not covered by health insurance.
Reconstructive surgery is used to improve the function and appearance of body structures that are deformed or damaged by congenital defects, developmental abnormalities, trauma, infection, tumors, or disease. When reconstructive surgery improves the function of a structure, it is generally covered by health insurance. Coverage may, however, vary depending on the procedure and type of insurance.
Is plastic surgery safe?
Although many people have plastic surgery with no complications, it is important to remember that all surgical procedures are accompanied with some risk.
To minimize your risk, confirm that:
- The American Board of Plastic Surgery has certified your surgeon
- Your surgeon is a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), with 5 or more years’ training in surgery and a minimum of 2 years training in plastic surgery
- The facility you use is accredited and complies with strict safety standards (ASPS surgeons only operate in accredited facilities)
- The facility you use employs licensed, experienced anesthesiologists who will closely monitor you during and immediately after your procedure
- Your surgeon knows about all medications you are taking
- Your surgeon knows your entire medical history, especially if you have had circulatory problems such as blood clots or problems with your heart or lungs
- Extra safety measures are taken if you are having extensive liposuction, including expertise in large-volume liposuction, tracking the flow of fluid in and out of your body during and after the procedure, and extended postoperative monitoring of vital signs and urinary output
How do I choose a plastic surgeon?
Knowing a surgeon’s credentials and areas of professional expertise are important when choosing a plastic surgeon. The plastic surgeons at Summit Medical Group have outstanding credentials, including their education, postdoctoral training, and experience.
Regardless of training or credentials, however, any doctor can refer to himself and advertise as a cosmetic surgeon. Only surgeons who have completed a residency in plastic surgery and passed American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS) examinations are board certified in and qualified to perform plastic surgery. If you are considering plastic surgery, it is important to confirm that the American Board of Plastic Surgery certifies your surgeon.
Surgeons who have ABPS certification:
- Have completed at least 5 years of surgical residency training after medical school, including at least 2 years in plastic surgery
- Have passed comprehensive cosmetic and reconstructive surgery examinations that evaluate their knowledge and expertise
- Are qualified to perform cosmetic and reconstructive surgical procedures, including liposuction, wound repair, face lifts, and reconstructive or cosmetic breast surgery
You may verify your surgeon’s certification at www.abplsurg.org or www.abms.org, or you may call the American Board of Plastic Surgery at 215-587-9322 or the American Board of Medical Specialties at 1-866-275-2267.
Am I a good candidate for plastic surgery?
Anyone who would like to improve his or her appearance is a good candidate for plastic surgery.
If you are interested in pursuing plastic surgery, it also is important to:
- Have realistic expectations about your possible results
- Be in reasonably good overall health
- Ask and get answers to all your questions about the procedure
- Understand what to expect before, during, and after your procedure
Your surgeon can help you know what you can expect from your surgery. He or she also can evaluate your overall health and ability to safely undergo a surgical procedure. In addition, your surgeon and his or her staff can help answer any questions you have about your procedure and provide educational materials so that you understand what to expect before, during, and after your procedure.
If you are considering plastic surgery, your surgeon will evaluate your risk for blood clots.
- Being excessively overweight
- Recent traumatic injury
- Disorders of the heart, lungs, or central nervous system
- History of cancer, recurrent severe infection, or genetic problems that increase the risk of blood clots
- Current or recent oral contraceptive use
- Hormone replacement therapy
Is recovery from plastic surgery painful?
People experience and tolerate pain differently. In addition, some procedures are more involved than others. These factors can affect the amount of pain after surgery. For example, many patients describe having little discomfort after facial surgery, whereas patients who have abdominopasty or breast augmentation sometimes describe being fairly uncomfortable for a few days. For these reasons, some people need more medication than others to manage their pain after a cosmetic or reconstructive procedure.
Your doctor will talk with you before your procedure to discuss how he or she will manage your pain after surgery. Appropriate pain medication is available and will be prescribed to ensure that you are as comfortable as possible.
How long does it take to recuperate from plastic surgery?
Recuperating after plastic surgery depends on the patient and procedure. Your surgeon will tell you what to expect after your surgery. He or she also will recommend when to resume your usual activities, including exercise.
It is important to follow all your surgeon’s instructions to ensure you get the best results from your procedure.
Approximate recuperation times:
- Eyelid surgery: Most patients describe being able to get around on their own 2 days after surgery. With sunglasses, you might feel comfortable being in public by the third or fourth day after surgery. Many eyelid surgery patients return to work 5 to 7 days after their procedure
- Facelift surgery: Most patients describe being able to get around on their own 2 days after surgery; however, it might be another 5 to 7 days before you feel like appearing in public. Many facelift surgery patients return to work 10 to 14 days after their procedure
- Breast surgery: Most patients describe being able to cautiously get around on their own 2 days after surgery; however, it might be another 5 to 7 days before you feel like returning to work. Breast surgery patients must be very careful not to lift anything heavy (more than 15 pounds) until they have healed well
- Liposuction: Most patients describe being able to get around on their own 2 days after surgery or sooner if the treated areas are small. Liposuction patients typically can return to work and resume their normal activities 5 to 7 days after their procedure
- Abdominoplasty: Most patients need 2 to 4 days before they can get around on their own after abdominoplasty. Patients with desk jobs can typically return to work 5 to 7 days after their procedure; however, patients with more physically active jobs often need 10 to 14 days to return to work
When can I resume exercising?
Although all patients are encouraged to walk slowly the day after surgery, more vigorous exercise or activities should be avoided for at least 2 weeks to lessen the risk of bleeding, swelling, and bruising. Patients should not lift weights or engage in contact sports for at least a month after surgery or until their surgeon has given them permission to do so.
Can I afford plastic surgery?
Cosmetic surgery can be expensive, but there are many ways to finance cosmetic procedures. Our staff would be happy to review the options with you at any time.