Not all of us are born looking like the celebrities and supermodels that fill the media. And yet, if you admire Gwyneth Paltrow's pretty face and lean figure, Kim Kardashian's buoyant derriere, or Kate Upton's, well, everything, you are just a few surgical procedures away from adopting your favorite features. Thanks to the many advances in plastic surgery, anyone can improve (or at least change) their appearance cosmetically, adding fillers and implants and subtracting bone, fat, and other tissue to become a different size and shape. But before you head to the clinic and hop on the operating table, there are a few things you'll want to consider.
- Alternative measures. Keep in mind that while plastic surgery is often considered cosmetic in nature, it is still surgery and it comes with many possible risks. So it should be reserved as a last resort. There are many avenues to explore before you immediately jump on the plastic surgery bandwagon, so consider using diet and exercise to tone and tighten your body (rather than liposuction), look into creams, lasers, and other treatments to rejuvenate and lift skin and reduce wrinkles, and see if learning proper makeup techniques can help you to feel good enough that you don't have to turn to surgical procedures.
- Medical risks. Not everyone is subject to suffering from the medical risks that could be associated with plastic surgery, but you should go in with your eyes wide open nonetheless. Most invasive surgical procedures require anesthesia, for example, which comes with all kinds of risks, including allergic reaction or heart failure, just for example. Then there are later risks such as bleeding, scarring, and loss of muscle control, just to name a few. In rare cases, these seemingly simple cosmetic surgeries can even lead to death (1 in about 50,000 cases, according to the Journal of the American Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons). So even if certain risks are unlikely, you need to know about them before you go under the knife.
- Cosmetic risks. One of the biggest risks when it comes to cosmetic surgery is that you may not like the results. For one thing, a plastic surgeon cannot make you look exactly like someone else (despite what Hollywood movies would lead you to believe). Surgeons have to work with your basic framework, so you're never going to get this person's nose or that person's body, although you can certainly emulate approximate sizes and shapes. But if you don't like it, you can't ever go back to the way you were before. You can only get another surgery and risk further disappointment. Looking at cautionary tales like Michael Jackson and Joan Rivers, you may decide to cancel the whole operation.
- Recuperation. Even relatively minor procedures can take a few days to recover from (for swelling and bruising to go down). And major cosmetic surgery could leave you laid up for weeks or even months before you fully heal. You may want to consider the impact this will have on your life before you go through with it.
- Cost. The best plastic surgery may not be the most expensive. While you can certainly arrange consultations with the most renowned celebrity doctors in Hollywood, chances are good that you can find a fantastic surgeon much closer to home at a fraction of the cost. Although most people are willing to spend a bit more on these types of elective procedures to ensure that they come out perfect, the truth is that you can likely save a ton by choosing a doctor that has a great track record but less fame. Just do your homework so you don't end up with a cut-rate quack.
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