People have always been fascinated with Plastic Surgery. Consequently stories abound and some of these have led to misconceptions about this field. The purpose of this discussion is to dispel myths surrounding Plastic Surgery and to expose the realities.
- Myth: “Plastic surgery is very expensive!”
Reality: False. As with any fee-for-service there is a cost involved however, the higher cost is going through life unhappily. Feeling that you could be better in all aspects of life with a repair or enhancement and doing nothing about it is cheating yourself. What value do you place on your feelings of self-worth and self-esteem?
Plastic Surgery costs significantly less in Mexico than in the rest of North America. If the cost is beyond a person’s means at the time they wish to undergo a procedure, financing can often be arranged with a financial service partner.
- Myth: “There are no scars from Plastic Surgery”
Reality: False. Every surgery creates a scar. However, Plastic Surgeons are adept at hiding, camouflaging, or at the very least, depending of the type and color of the skin, age, and health of the patient, minimizing the appearance of scars. (Click Skin Types for more information). Usually, the more skilled and experienced the Plastic Surgeon, the better the results.
- “Plastic Surgery is dangerous”
Reality: False. Any surgery carries with it certain risks but not danger. Prior to surgery, based on your medical history and initial physical examination, patients are rated on a risk scale by the anesthesiologist (Click Anesthesia and You, for details concerning this topic). There are 4 levels of risk from low to high. Certain conditions such as diabetes, cardiac illness, high blood pressure and obesity will put a patient higher on the risk scale and increase your risk in a Plastic Surgery. Where it is considered safe to perform the surgery on a patient with any health condition or history, these conditions are factored into the medical approach used as well as patient monitoring and post-operative care.
For this reason it is extremely important that you disclose to the Plastic Surgeon and the anesthesiologist any information regarding your clinical history regarding ailments, previous surgeries, accidents, allergies and any medications you are currently taking.
- Myth: “It is very painful.”
Reality: False. If Plastic Surgery was very painful, no one would willingly undergo any procedure and we know that there are thousands who have done so in the past, many more than once! There may however be some post-operative discomfort. This occurs more often in some combinations of surgeries rather than singular procedures. However, the anesthesiologist administers medications that keep you calm and pain-free during and in the immediate post-operative period. Thereafter, the Plastic Surgeon and nursing staff will monitor your level of discomfort and provide medications to keep you comfortable. There are patients with a very low threshold for pain, and other have a high pain tolerance. The former will react more strongly to the discomfort while the latter will feel almost nothing. Pain management will be discussed in your initial consultation.
- Myth: “Every attractive person has had Plastic Surgery”
Reality: Not necessarily. Let’s be honest, there are people whose faces and bodies have been endowed by nature with a harmonious esthetics and balance without having being touched by any sort of Surgery. In some other cases, certain improvements may be evident, but not every person with beautiful facial or body features, is the result of a Plastic Surgery.
- Myth: “You’ll become a living sculpture”
Reality: True. Modern techniques in liposculpting and body contour remodeling can enhance all areas of the body including breasts, waist, hips, back, tummy, arms, thighs, bottom, face and neck. All that is needed is a well-trained Plastic Surgeon using time-proven techniques and human material sufficiently amenable to produce these changes.
- Myth: “When the bandages are removed, the miracle is complete.”
Reality: False. Every single operation, especially more prolonged ones which involves more areas of the face and body, will take hours to complete. All tissue reacts to trauma with an inflammation response. This usually subsides in days if you follow the post-operative instructions provided by the surgeon, but it is certainly not immediate. A rather good dose of common sense, patience and realistic expectations are your best allies in every Plastic Surgery.
- Myth: “Laser surgery totally removes any scar.”
Reality: False. The word Laser is an abbreviation for “Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation”. It is an arrangement of highly concentrated rays in a single bundle of radiant energy that will cut or burn with a higher degree of control than a scalpel or any other type of instrument, but in the end it still produces a cut or controlled burn. The resulting scar however, may be less pronounced than one produced by a scalpel or other instruments.
The use of Laser has spread to every branch of Medicine or Surgery, but it will not miraculously heal any scar, rather it produces a wound which like any trauma requires a healing process. Those who use this technology, use it as a marketing tool and not because it is such a miraculous asset.
- Myth: “There is no initial fee consultation in the US but there is in your practice.”
Reality: False. Most of my mentors and well-respected plastic surgeons in the US charge $200 or more for the first consultation. The initial consultation in this office is more than a “meet and greet”, it is a full-fledged medical appointment.