A. Cosmetic surgery is performed to reshape normal structures of the body in order to improve the patient's appearance and self-esteem. Cosmetic surgery is usually not covered by health insurance because it is elective.
Reconstructive surgery is performed on abnormal structures of the body, caused by congenital defects, developmental abnormalities, trauma, infection, tumors or disease. It is generally performed to improve function, but may also be done to approximate a normal appearance. Reconstructive surgery is generally covered by most health insurance policies although coverage for specific procedures and levels of coverage may vary greatly. There are a number of "gray areas" in coverage for plastic surgery that sometimes require special consideration by an insurance carrier. These areas usually involved surgical operations which may be reconstructive or cosmetic, depending on each patient's situation. For example, Eyelid Surgery (blepharoplasty) - a procedure normally performed to achieve cosmetic improvement - may be covered if the eyelids are drooping severely and obscuring a patient's vision.
A. During a procedure, anesthesia ensures that you're comfortable and feel no pain. If general anesthesia is used, you'll even sleep through the entire operation. After surgery, any pain or discomfort you may experience can usually be controlled through medication and will usually subside in a matter of days.
A. To most surgical cosmetic procedures the answer is yes. Will they be noticeable? Probably not. Your surgeon will make every effort to keep scars as minimal as possible and try to hide them in the natural lines and creases of your skin. For the majority of procedures, your scars will fade over time and become barely visible.
A. Millions of cosmetic procedures are performed successfully every year and complications are usually rare. But no matter how easy, simple or safe today's cosmetic surgery may seem to be, you must remember that it is still surgery and with any surgery there are certain risks involved.
For risks and side effects specific to the surgical procedure in question, please select a specific procedure from the sidebar.
A. The duration of the results is very specific to the procedure performed. In general, with procedures that are performed to correct or reshape nature's small defects - such as surgery of the nose, breast augmentation/reduction and chin augmentation - the benefits may last a lifetime. For those that focus on rejuvenation - such as a Face Lift, forehead lift, chemical peel or Eyelid Surgery - the results can last 5 - 10 years.
For specific results, please select a procedure from the sidebar.
A. In general, most cosmetic procedures enhance your looks or minimize perceived flaws naturally and often go unnoticed. You may be asked if you've been exercising, lost weight or have begun a rejuvenating routine. Typically, no one will know unless you tell.
A. Again, this differs widely on the procedure that has been performed but on average, most cosmetic surgery patients are back to work within 3 to 10 days.
For specific back-to-work times, please select a procedure from the sidebar.
A. Nearly 3.5 million cosmetic surgery procedures are performed each year.
A. About one-third of cosmetic surgery patients are between 35 and 50. About 22 percent are 26 to 34, 18 percent are 25 and under and 27 percent are over 51.
A. Almost 700,000 cosmetic procedures are performed on men each year. And the number gets larger each year as men grow increasingly comfortable with the concept of cosmetic surgery for themselves.
- Hair transplantation/restoration
- Chemical peel
- Sclerotherapy (vein treatment)
- Eyelid surgery
Questions about finding the right surgeon.
A. It is important to know the Doctor's credentials and specialized training, since all kinds of Doctors perform cosmetic surgery. Once a Doctor has earned a general medical degree, he or she may practice any specialty they wish, regardless of whether they have had any advanced training. Since it is usually difficult for prospective patients to evaluate the competence or qualifications of a surgeon, the medical profession offers a generally accepted form of accreditation. After years of formal education, specialized training and surgical residencies, surgeons submit to extremely rigorous written and oral examinations. Only when they pass do they have the right to call themselves "board-certified" surgeons. Find out how much experience your surgeon has had with the procedure you are considering. The more experience, the better. Ask your Doctor how many times he/she has performed the procedure you're interested in and ask for references. Ask about hospital affiliations and privileges. Good surgeons usually have privileges at reputable hospitals. Also, the chemistry between Doctor and patient must not be overlooked. Choose a surgeon you feel comfortable with… and always ask and look for credentials:
A. The best and only way to find out if cosmetic surgery is right for you is to consult with a surgeon or patient councilor. He or she will listen to your needs, examine you and provide you with educated advice. They can tell you what you need to know about the procedure you are interested in, or recommend another surgeon to meet your needs and goals. He/she will describe how the procedure is performed, what results you may expect, how long the recovery time may be and the possible complications that may be involved. At this time too, he/she will answer any questions you may have, so ask away.
- Where and when did you get your medical certification?
- Are you board certified?
- In what specialty are you certified?
- Do you routinely perform the procedure I want?
- What surgical technique will be used?
- How long will the procedure take?
- How much pain is involved?
- What are the risks and complications?
- How long will the effect of the procedure last?
- Is anesthesia administered by a board certified anesthesiologist who remains during the surgery?
- Will I be monitored the day after the surgery?
- At which hospital(s) do you have privileges to perform the procedure I'm considering?
- Do you have malpractice insurance?
- Are you a member of any medical societies? Which ones?
- Do you have before and after photos of your patients?
- May I contact your patients who have had the same procedure(s) I want?
- Is financing available?
These are just a sampling of the questions that you may want to ask, to familiarize yourself with your procedure and surgeon. If you have any questions not answered here, Dr. Patterson would be more than happy to answer them if you'll just contact his office at 1-888-463-7775 toll free or e-mail him directly:
Remember, no question is too small or unimportant… so ask and keep yourself informed.