Undergoing surgery on an elective basis Introduction For some people, it might seem strange that others decide to go under the knife just to enhance their appearance. But for patients who struggle with physical and emotional discomforts all their lives due to aesthetic imperfections, this is nothing strange. Nowadays plastic surgery has developed tremendously compared to two decades ago. The procedures are safe, associated with minimal risks and complications, and the results that can be achieved are sometimes spectacular. These days, in a matter of hours, the patient can get bigger breasts or buttocks, enhance the shape of the body, and even erase signs of aging. There is no other method available now that can help achieve as much as with using plastic surgery. Also, it is important to mention now that the results achieved with plastic surgery, even procedures as simple as liposuction, can’t be achieved using other methods. For example, liposuction can’t be substituted for diets or a physical exercise routine. Undergoing surgery on an elective basis is not a taboo topic anymore; however, the patient should be aware of all the details and the course of the procedure before scheduling it. In this article, we will discuss a few of these details and the process of undergoing surgery on an elective basis. Process of choosing plastic surgery We could say that the whole process starts with the pre-operative consultation with the plastic surgeon, but this would not be entirely right. Everything actually starts with discovering a need and deciding to look into plastic surgery as a solution. Reasons to undergo plastic surgery There are patients who have struggled all their lives due to having overly large breasts that have prevented them from performing certain tasks, including physical activities and having a negative impact not only on their appearance, but their quality of life too. There are other patients who suffer emotional discomforts due to the overly small size of the breasts that makes them feel less feminine and alluring. Each patient has a different reason for undergoing plastic surgery, but it always comes down to harmonizing features of the body or making them more proportionate to the rest of the anatomy, getting rid of unwanted fat deposits that are resistant to physical exercises and diets, or saggy skin that can’t be corrected in any other way aside from surgery. Patients resort to elective surgery to enhance their body after their physical appearance has been negatively affected by factors such as pregnancy and breastfeeding, the natural aging process, or massive weight loss as a result of bariatric surgery or other weight loss programs. It is important to understand that plastic surgery should come as a personal choice and the patient should go forward with it only after assessing the pros and cons carefully. Choosing a plastic surgeon An important part of the process of undergoing surgery on an elective basis for aesthetic purposes is choosing the plastic surgeon. While it might seem easy, this is one of the most important decisions you will make as for the rest you will be guided by the plastic surgeon you have chosen. A plastic surgeon that will help you reach your aesthetic goals should be experienced, board-certified, and you should feel comfortable in his presence. Trust is another aspect of your relationship with the plastic surgeon that you should consider. You should be able to fully trust the plastic surgeon with your appearance as well as your well-being and also trust him enough to follow his recommendations to the letter. To choose the right plastic surgeon for your particular case, you can look online or ask for recommendations in your area or around the country. Be aware of the dangers of undergoing plastic surgery abroad and do your research before scheduling the first appointment with the plastic surgeon. First meeting with the plastic surgeon You will know whether you have made a good decision about the plastic surgeon during the initial meeting with him. This first meeting with the plastic surgeon is important and will give you an opportunity to see if you can bond with the plastic surgeon and also allow his to assess your candidacy for the procedure that you are interested in. The plastic surgeon will perform a physical examination on you and also take measurements and pictures of your body. This is standard practice. After this, you will be asked to discuss your goals and expectations from the surgery as the plastic surgeon will try to analyze where your desires are achievable or not and what procedures are most suitable. Afterwards, the plastic surgeon should recommend the procedure that is the most recommended for your particular case but also explains other options and their pros and cons. After the initial meeting, you should have a clear idea about the procedure that will be performed, the operative plan, the preparation and recovery period, and also the costs. Preparing for the surgery While some patients might tend to believe that the operation proper is the most difficult, the reality is that the preparation and recovery period are the ones that really require the patient to put in some efforts. During the preparation period, the patient is advised to adopt a certain behavior. For example, a balanced and healthy eating routine should start at least a month before the procedure. During this time, the patient should also stop taking birth control pills. Two weeks before the procedure, the recommendation is to put away all anti-inflammatory medication and avoid them until after the procedure. Taking anti-inflammatory medication in the two weeks before the procedure can lead to excessive bleeding during and after the procedure and this can be dangerous for the patient. At the same time, avoiding natural supplements is also a good idea and will be advised by the plastic surgeon for the same purpose. But the preparation for plastic surgery is not only about the physical part, but also the emotional aspect. During this time, the patient should focus on the reasons for undergoing plastic surgery and visualize the impressive results that will be achieved with the procedure. Preparing the house for the return home is also very important, especially considering the fact that the return home will happen within hours after the procedure as the hospitalization period is often no longer than a few hours after the patient wakes up from the effects of the general anesthesia. Preparing the house for the recovery period often entails having enough food, drinks, and entertainment in the house to last the patient a few days, as the first few days post-op are not overly comfortable for the patient. Recovery period The return home happens within hours after undergoing the procedure and can be associated with a more intense level of pain and discomfort. Plastic surgery is surgery nevertheless, so the more invasive it is, the more it is a risk for some pain to occur during the first few days post-op. To alleviate the pain, the plastic surgeon will prescribe pain medication that should be taken according to the doctor’s orders. Antibiotics are also prescribed for a minimum of five days post-op to help avoid infections. Depending on the procedure, there is a set of instructions to be followed to the letter for about two to four weeks post-op. Generally speaking, we are talking about not sleeping or sitting on the area that was treated during surgery and also avoiding any type of other pressure on the incisions. Compression garments are often mandatory to be worn for periods of three to six weeks or even more. Make sure to discuss all the recommendations for the recovery period with the plastic surgeon during the initial consultation. Conclusion Undergoing plastic surgery is for many patients the last resort after trying many other methods that provide little to no results. Different procedures are performed nowadays to correct aesthetic imperfections, erase the signs of aging, improve the shape of the body, and augment certain features to be more proportionate with the rest of the body. Patients resorting to plastic surgery should be aware of all that is entailed by this process, starting with the preparation period and until the final results are transparent. Keep in mind that it is only by choosing a board-certified and experienced plastic surgeon and following his advice to the letter that you can ensure satisfactory results with minimal or no complications.