Cosmetic Surgery – What You Should Know

Prior to setting an appointment with a cosmetic surgeon, people should think about their reasons for wanting to change their appearance. Cosmetic surgery can result to dramatic and lasting changes in their physical appearance, so it is crucial to realize how such changes may affect their feelings and emotions.

Though cosmetic surgery can successfully change most physical features, it cannot change others. The best candidates for cosmetic surgery are those who:

  • Have reasonable expectations with the results that can be achieved
  • Recognize the medical risks, effects of surgery on their personal and professional life, physical effects while healing, lifestyle changes during time of recovery and costs involved
  • Have talked about their surgery goals with their surgeon, plus resolved the questions
  • Have controlled diabetes or other serious medical conditions
  • Do not have a history of smoking or are willing to avoid smoking (secondhand smoke) or nicotine products such as chewing tobacco, nicotine patches, lozenges or gums for six weeks prior to and after surgery
  • Have a stable weight for at least 6 months

Reasons to avoid smoking when considering cosmetic surgery

  • Carbon monoxide, nicotine plus other toxins reduce the flow of blood to the skin.
  • Smoking has an effect on the healing of a wound and worsens scarring.
  • Smoking raises the risks of complications following anesthesia (hypertension, pneumonia and blood clots).


Surgeries like cosmetic procedures do not come without risks. People that have a history of lung disease, cardiovascular disease, obesity and lung disease are more prone to developing complications like pneumonia, heart attack, stroke or blood clots in lungs or legs. Smoking increases risks as well, and gets in the way of healing.

Meeting with the surgeon will also discuss these risks and others associated with the patient’s medical history.

Surgical procedures could come with the following possible complications:

  • Complications involving anesthesia like blood clots, pneumonia and seldom, death
  • Infection at the incision location that can make scarring worse and require another surgery
  • Accumulated fluid underneath the skin
  • Mild bleeding that may need another surgery, or severe bleeding that requires a transfusion
  • Noticeable scarring/skin breakdown, which happens when healing skin detaches from healthy skin and needs to be immediately removed through surgery
  • Tingling and numbness caused by nerve damage which may become permanent

Things to expect

  • Care should depend on the patient’s personal needs.
  • Have realistic expectations, aiming to improve and not to be perfect.
  • All people are asymmetrical.
  • Every patient has a different outcome.
  • Before surgery, the patient will visit the surgeon and a health care team member.
  • The patient should be in a good physical and mental health.
  • Avoid all nicotine products plus secondhand smoke for six weeks before and after surgery.
  • Scars from a surgery are permanent.
  • Swelling and bruising are only temporary.
  • Some wounds need to be drained.
  • Recovery period depends on a person and procedure, but most cosmetic surgeries require 6 to 12 week minimum.
  • Most insurance policies do not cover cosmetic procedures.
  • Some patients should undergo further surgeries to accomplish their goal.
  • The gap between surgeries is four months minimum.