6 FAQ about plastic surgery Introduction Plastic surgery is all about correcting physical imperfections so the patient can live a better life and have enhanced features of the body for a more alluring appearance. If in the past plastic surgery was all about liposuction and getting breast implants, nowadays there are many different procedures that help patients from all over the world get the body they have always dreamed of. Plastic surgery can be used technically on any area of the body. Different procedures are recommended according to the physical characteristics of the patient and what they are trying to achieve with the surgery. In this article, we will discuss six frequently asked questions and answers about plastic surgery. Do I need to prepare to undergo plastic surgery? I often hear this question from patients who are at their first consultation with the plastic surgeon. Most people tend to believe that undergoing plastic surgery is something they can do on a normal weekday between errands. This is not how it happens. Plastic surgery requires about a month of preparation, and patients should also prepare their close friends and family members, so everybody knows what is to be expected after the procedure. Preparing to undergo plastic surgery takes on different aspects. First, we have the physical preparation for the surgery. The month before the procedure, patients are advised to avoid strict diets but also overeating. Keeping a healthy and balanced meal regimen before surgery can be beneficial for a fast and smooth recovery as it will give your body what it requires to heal quickly. Another part of the physical preparation is to avoid taking birth control medication a month before the procedure and also stopping natural supplements and anti-inflammatory medication two weeks before the date of the surgery. The patient should also prepare emotionally to undergo the procedure. This means to visualize the results that are desired to be achieved and think positively. Discussing the details with your friends and family members and asking for their support during the beginning of the recovery period can also make you feel better and more prepared to undergo surgery. Do I need general anesthesia to undergo plastic surgery? Many people are worried about getting general anesthesia for their plastic surgery procedure because they have heard a lot of myths about the use of general anesthesia. A very popular myth that we often hear is general anesthesia taking five years off your life. This is obviously not true and has no medical support. It is nothing more than a myth that gets a lot of exposure because people are not very knowledgeable or educated about this. General anesthesia is commonly used for plastic surgery, especially if we are talking about procedures that will take longer than an hour to be performed. When general anesthesia is administered, the patient will have no recollection of the operation and feel no pain or discomfort during the surgery. This is very important, especially because nowadays we are performing plastic surgery procedures that can take as long as six hours and even more. For example, the hourglass tummy tuck can take about three to four hours on some patients. The procedure is one of the most delicate and complicated nowadays, and general anesthesia is recommended for the comfort and well-being of the patient. With the development of modern medicine, the substances used for general anesthesia are safer than ever, and the risks associated with using general anesthesia have decreased considerably. However, it is important for patients to know that there are still risks associated with any type of anesthesia, but the risks are no different when undergoing plastic surgery or other types of procedures. Some procedures that are not as invasive can be performed with local anesthesia with sedation. The recommendation for one type of anesthesia or the other will be made by the plastic surgeon together with the anesthetist during the consultation, and it will take into consideration your previous medical history, allergies, current medication, and the surgical plan to be followed. How long will the recovery take after plastic surgery? One thing that should be clear from the very beginning for patients desiring to undergo plastic surgery is that there will be a recovery period, whatever the procedure. A commonly performed procedure such as abdominal liposuction still entails a recovery period of a few days and up to a week. This is something that all patients should understand. Scheduling activities to be performed the same day with the procedure or in the next few days is not wise and will certainly not help with the healing process. After all types of procedures, the plastic surgeon will give you a list of dos and don’ts. Generally speaking, the plastic surgeon will ask you to rest as much as possible for the first few days post-op, while also making sure you get off the bed every couple of hours for at least a few minutes. This instruction is important to avoid the formation of blood clots, which is a severe complication that can occur after any type of surgical procedure due to prolonged bed rest. During the recovery period, the plastic surgeon will also ask you to take days off from work. Depending on the procedure, the recovery can take a few days or a few weeks. Generally speaking, the recovery period is no longer than two weeks for patients who have no pre-existing health condition that would make the healing process more difficult. During the first two weeks post-op, most patients will be able to resume their daily activities, making sure to avoid intense physical exercises. During the recovery period, the plastic surgeon will also advise wearing compression garments. When will I see the plastic surgeon again after plastic surgery? The relationship with the plastic surgeon starts with the pre-operative consultation but doesn’t end after the procedure. There are follow-up consultations to be scheduled after the procedure. The plastic surgeon will ask to see you a day or two after the procedure to remove the drain tubes if you had some inserted or to make sure the healing process is going according to the plan. Another week later, you will have another consultation with the surgeon. Generally speaking, you will see the plastic surgeon again a month after the procedure, three months after, six months after, and twelve months after. Make sure to schedule and attend the follow-up consultations to allow the plastic surgeon to monitor the healing process and prevent potential complications from occurring. When can complications occur after plastic surgery? Some patients interested in undergoing plastic surgery tend to believe that complications are bound to occur only during the operation proper, and after the return home there are no more risks. This is not true. Complications associated with undergoing certain plastic surgery procedures such as breast implant surgery can occur even months or years after the procedure (e.g. capsular contracture). Also, the first two weeks after surgery is the period when many complications such as infection, wound dehiscence, seroma, and hematoma can occur. Make sure to contact your plastic surgeon if complications occur. Are the results of my procedure permanent? How long the results will last is a concern for all patients undergoing plastic surgery. Some procedures deliver results that are durable over time, and we can consider them permanent while others just deliver long-term results. However, it is important to discuss this aspect with the plastic surgeon before the procedure so you have all the details before undergoing surgery. Even when the procedure delivers permanent results, the patient should understand that this doesn’t mean that the whole body or feature of the body treated with plastic surgery will always stay the same. There are external and internal factors that work on the body that might change over time. Conclusion Plastic surgery is a safe and efficient tool that can be used to correct imperfections on the body. However, plastic surgery is a process that needs to be planned and discussed in detail with the plastic surgeon to ensure satisfactory results are achieved. Patients are advised to properly prepare for the procedure they have scheduled, to follow the plastic surgeon’s instructions post-op, and to put in the required amount of efforts to sustain the results in the long run.