The first includes patients with a strong self-image who are bothered by a physical characteristic that they'd like to improve or change.
The second category includes patients who have a physical defect or cosmetic flaw that has diminished their self-esteem over time.
It's important to remember that cosmetic surgery can create both physical changes and changes in self-esteem. But if you are seeking surgery with the hope of influencing a change in someone other than yourself, you might end up disappointed.
- Patients in crisis, such as those who are going through divorce, the death of a spouse, or the loss of a job. These patients may be seeking to achieve goals that cannot be met through an appearance change — goals that relate to overcoming crisis through an unrelated change in appearance is not the solution. Rather, a patient must first work through the crisis.
- Patients with unrealistic expectations, such as those who insist on having a celebrity's nose, with the hope that they may acquire a celebrity lifestyle; patients who want to be restored to their original "perfection" following a severe accident or a serious illness; or patients who wish to find the youth of many decades past.
- Impossible-to-please patients, such as individuals who consult with surgeon after surgeon, seeking the answers they want to hear. These patients hope for a cure to a problem that is not primarily, or at all, physical.
- Patients who are obsessed with a very minor defect, and may believe that once their defect is fixed, life will be perfect. Born perfectionists may be suitable candidates for surgery, as long as they are realistic enough to understand that surgical results may not precisely match their goals.
- Patients who have a mental illness, and exhibit delusional or paranoid behavior, may also be poor candidates for surgery. Surgery may be appropriate in these cases if it is determined that the patient's goals for surgery are not related to the psychosis. In these cases, a plastic surgeon may work closely with the patient's psychiatrist.
Ask the right questions to get the best treatment:
- In which state is the doctor licensed to practice surgery?
- Is the doctor board certified? With which board? The doctor should be certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery.
- How many years has the doctor performed this type of surgery?
- Does the doctor have life-saving equipment and monitoring devices?
- Who administers the anesthesia? Ideally, this person is a board-certified anesthesiologist or certified registered nurse anesthetist.
- What are the risks of the procedure?
- What is the expected recovery for the procedure you're having?
Contact these organizations to find out your doctor's education, licensure, and board certification in addition to the doctor's or ambulatory care center's accreditation:
- Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care, Inc. (AAHC) – Accredits physician offices with surgical facilities.
- American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgery Facilities (AAAASF) – Certifies ambulatory surgery facilities and provides practice guidelines for surgeons working in ambulatory surgical facilities.
- American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS)/ The American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS) – All of the surgeons listed through this service are ASPS members who are board-certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. They have graduated from an accredited medical school and completed at least five years of surgical residency, usually three years of general surgery and two years of plastic surgery.
- Federation of State Medical Boards (FCVS) – FCVS verifies medical education, postgraduate training, licensure examination history, board action history, and identity.