Cosmetic surgery is increasingly becoming a part of mainstream American society. We live in a competitive society where looking our best has a direct effect on our personal and business relationships. Just as we head to the gym and plan our diets to feel good, more and more of us are considering cosmetic surgery to improve our looks as well as our self esteem. In fact, a recent survey conducted by the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (AAFPRS) found that 85% of adult Americans would undergo a plastic surgery procedure if given the chance.
If cosmetic surgery is an option you are considering, there are a number of things you should know. With the vast numbers of surgeons in practice today, it is more important than ever for you to make informed decisions when considering an elective procedure such as cosmetic surgery. One of the most confusing issues today for individuals seeking a cosmetic surgeon is that of board certification. In today's highly competitive medical environment, the term "board certified" can be found in almost any surgeon's advertising. It is important for you to recognize and seek out a surgeon who is "board certified" not "board eligible", in the correct area of expertise. A board eligible doctor might have had training, but has not passed the board exams. If you are considering a cosmetic procedure of the face, head or neck, the correct area of expertise is facial plastic surgery. If you are interested in anything involving the body, the area of expertise is plastic surgery.
There are a number of "boards" that certify surgeons performing facial plastic and plastic surgery , which are either member boards of the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) or have been deemed equivalent to the boards of the ABMS. These boards include the American Board of Otolaryngology , the American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery , and the American Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons (ASPS), for example. What you should know is that most of these board-certified plastic surgeons are members of the world's largest associations of plastic and reconstructive surgeons, the AAFPRS and the ASPS.
When considering procedures for the face, neck, nose, or ears it is most important to require the surgeon to be double board certified by the American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and by the American Board of Otolaryngology .
There is some important information you should be aware of when seeking and selecting a surgeon for cosmetic surgical procedures of the face, head, neck or body. The following are tips to assist you in making informed decisions when choosing the best surgeon for your specific needs:
When seeking a surgeon, word of mouth referrals are a good place to begin your search. Consult with friends or relatives who have undergone a procedure, ask a trusted physician or inquire with your hairdresser or esthetician at your local salon as to which doctors in the area have good reputations for performing facial and body cosmetic procedures.
Do your homework
Be sure to find out how many years the doctor has been practicing facial plastic or plastic surgery and how much experience he/she has in the particular procedures that you're interested in. A doctor may have formal training and board certification, but nothing compares to experience. Ask to see before and after pictures of the procedures the doctor has performed, particularly the ones you are interested in and if he has patients willing to talk with you about there experience. You should also check to make sure the doctor is in good standing with your local medical society and the hospitals where he/she has privileges. Check to make sure that the surgeon's area of expertise and corresponding board certification is in facial plastic surgery for facial procedures or plastic surgery for body procedures.
The AAFPRS and the ASPS each offers a toll-free physician referral hotline which can be utilized to confirm a plastic surgeon's board certification. The AAFPRS hotline is 1-800-332-3223 and the ASPS hotline is 1-888-475-2784.
The AAFPRS' and the ASPS' hotlines can also be utilized to obtain complimentary background material on specific procedures. Studying this material will give you a good base knowledge on your areas of interest so you can determine what questions to ask and what answers to expect in return.
Assure your safety
Make sure your surgery will be performed in a State Accredited surgical facility. These facilities must pass all the same rules, regulations, and guidelines as a hospital and be fully equipped just like a hospital. This will give you the comfort of knowing that although you will not be paying the high cost of surgery in a hospital, you will still be receiving high quality personalized care, and the facility is equipped to handle any emergency that might arise. Also, make sure that a board certified M.D. anesthesiologist administers your anesthesia, not a nurse. A board certified anesthesiologist is a physician who administers anesthesia.
Here at Premier Image Cosmetic and Laser Surgery, we are proud to meet all of these guidelines and recommendations and want to remind you that cosmetic surgery is an elective procedure that should not be entered into lightly, but with much research and consideration.
Every surgery requires some type of recovery, from a couple of days to a week or more. There are medications that will be prescribed for discomfort and prevention of infection and nausea and instructions on medications and vitamins to avoid.
Fill your prescriptions a week in advance. Your doctor will prescribe antibiotics, anti-nausea, pain medications and more to ensure a healthy, comfortable recovery. It’s always good to have the filled in advance so you don’t have to rush around at the last minute.
To further speed recovery time, the doctors here at Premier Image will prescribe Arnica Montana for bruising and swelling. These can be filled on-site or at a local health food store like GNC. Arnica Montanta is a natural herb grown in the mountain regions and helps reduce bruising and swelling. Bromelain is beneficial in reducing swelling and accelerates the healing process. Bromelain is a natural enzyme extracted from the pineapple and acts much like Advil. It will soon be available on site.
An additional vitamin regiment of Centrum Silver three times a day will be recommended to boost your immune system. You will start these a couple weeks prior to surgery. Discontinue any extra vitamin E and Aspirin products as well as any other herbs or diet supplements until 4 weeks following surgery. Carefully review medications, vitamins and herbs that you take on a regular basis with your doctor.
Hair Styling: You’ll want to schedule your hair appointment just before your surgery. The positioning of your head and neck are stressful especially with hair coloring procedures. You won’t want to be stretching and straining for position just after surgery. Most patients wait
4 – 6 weeks.
Meal Planning: Pick up your favorite yogurts, soups and easy to prepare frozen entrees. I couldn’t eat enough yogurt which is a healthy nutritional addition when taking antibiotics. Gingerale, Gatorade and juices (non-acidic) are great to have on hand. Grab 4 bags of frozen small peas or corn to use as an ice pack. (They’re softer than the ice bag.)
Overnight care: Plan on having a friend or family member provide transportation and overnight care for your first night. I wasn’t in any pain or discomfort, but because you have just had surgery and may be taking medications it is safer to have someone with you. You will need transportation leaving the surgery center and returning the following day for your first post operative appointment.
Premier Image offers personal care-givers who provide experienced overnight care for cosmetic surgery. You can choose to have them stay with you at your home or a nearby hotel. We have special rates at several nearby hotels. Our patient liaisons can arrange all of your post operative needs.
Reduce swelling by applying ice or frozen peas for the first 48 hours. I can’t preach enough about ice, it makes a huge difference with swelling and it actually feels good too. When you have multiple procedures, it’s hard to pack the ice everywhere. Keep one across your eyes if you have had eyelid, brow or nose surgery. Another two should be used on either side of your face for face-lifting surgery, like the “QT Lift” or Neck Lift.
Keep your head elevated. Keep your head elevated by at least 2 pillows to help decrease swelling. I purchased one of those couch pillows at Targets and was very comfortable propped up in bed while reading magazines and writing newsletters on my laptop. At night, I just used a couple-three pillows under my head and one under my knees for back support. I’m a real tummy sleeper and have actually learned to rest well on my back. It makes a difference in the morning, my eyes are not as swollen and I don’t have sheet marks on my face for the first half of the day. A recliner is a sure way to elevate your head while lounging throughout the day. Many have found it a good way to sleep to prevent rolling over on their stomachs.
Nausea: You have been prescribed the anti-nausea medication, Phenergan. It comes either as a suppository or oral medication. Hopefully, as a suppository because with nausea you may not be able to hold down oral medication. The suppository should stay refrigerated until needed. The suppository will melt and be absorbed quickly, easing your nausea symptoms. If you feel a little queazy, use the suppository, don’t wait. Phenergan does cause drowsiness and will help you relax.
Before taking any oral medications you should eat a little something to prevent nausea. Drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration. You may find yourself quite thirsty; this is natural and try to drink water, gingerale, gatorade and very low acidic fruit drinks.
Expect to look worse before you look better. Swelling and bruising are inevitable, but with proper care will diminish quickly and you will begin to see your results. Try not to turn your neck, rather move from your waist as if you had a neck injury. Do not bend-over; rather bend with your knees. Take it easy and enjoy some relaxing time.
Don’t forget to take your Arnica Montana. Arnica Montana is a natural herb found in the mountain regions and is used to reduce swelling and bruising and speed recovery time. I actually purchased two packs and continued to take them for the three extra days. Apply the Arnica Gel & Cream to bruised areas, but not to the suture site itself and be careful not to get it in your eyes.
Bromelain is a natural proteolytic enzyme extracted from the root of the pineapple stem and is beneficial in reducing swelling, pain and accelerates the healing process. Bromelain is best taken on an empty stomach as is Arnica. Most common dosage is (1) 500mg pill three times a day for 7 – 10 days following surgery, but always follow the directions on the label or your doctors specific directions.
Enjoy your downtime: You may want to pick up some good books you’ve been wanting to read or stationary for those letters you’ve been meaning to write. Some funny videos may be just what the doctor ordered. Sort out your recipe holder or phone book. You could even address Holiday cards well in advance or do some on-line shopping. If you feel like getting out after a couple of days, go. Just take it easy and be careful. Do not drive while taking pain medications. The less activity and turning of your neck and head the better you will heal. So, no lifting anything over 5 lbs, no bending over (bend with your knees instead), no exercise other than walking and isometrics, and turn using your waist not your head and neck.
What to tell others: If you are uncomfortable telling your friends or co-workers you are having cosmetic surgery, then you may wish to tell them you are taking vacation or having reconstructive surgery. Here are 2 explanations I heard recently, “I’m having nasal surgery” (Cosmetic Rhinoplasty, Browlift, & QT Mini Facelift), “The doctor has recommended I have eyelid surgery to prevent visual obstruction” (Upper & Lower Blepharoplasty, QT Mini Facelift). Did you know that laser skin resurfacing destroys pre-cancerous cells? Many dermatologist recommend laser skin resurfacing as a preventative treatment for pre-cancerous cells.
Most people will tell you their friends and co-workers didn’t know they had had cosmetic surgery. “Did you change your hair color?” or “You look rested, that vacation did you good.”
No exercise: Do not exercise until your doctor allows it. Exercise will contribute to swelling and compromise your healing and possibly your results. Walking and isometrics are fine, just be smart. You have plenty of time to get in shape after you heal. Generally, after cosmetic surgery you should wait 4 to 6 weeks before resuming exercise programs. Your doctor should be the one to give you the go ahead.
No heat: Do not use heating pads, curling irons or blow dryers (unless on cool) for at least 3 months following facial rejuvenation. Your body’s natural response to surgery is to be numb, that’s why there is very little pain with facial plastic surgery. The numbness will wear off in a few weeks, however because you are numb you will not be able to feel heat or a burning sensation. Not only can serious burns occur, but heat may contribute to additional swelling and inflammation. Many burns occur after plastic surgery because not only are you numb, but your skin and tissues are ultra sensitive during the first three months following surgery.
Sunscreen: Use extreme caution in the sun. During the first year protect all surgical sites with a physical sun block (SPF 30). Surgical sites will scar with sun exposure; it’s as simple as that. Big floppy hats, scarves, adequate sun block, and avoiding sun exposure are essential contributions to your investment. Good skin care products and treatments are the ingredients to long lasting results.