When I was a teenager, I thought about having a nose job. My ancestors are English, and some of us in my family have noses that are a bit sharp.
My family, however, could barely afford braces for our teeth, so cosmetic surgery was out of the question.
When I was a junior in college, a woman I knew had a nose job. She had a Roman nose; it was acceptable looking on her brothers, but not her, she thought. The problem with her plastic surgery; her bobbed nose didn’t look right with her chin. That’s when I began to have doubts about cosmetic surgery.
When I worked as a correspondent for The Spokesman-Review in Spokane, Wash., I met a woman who worked for one of the courts I visited daily. She was dating a man whose wife had died in a doctor’s office during a nose job. That clinched it for me; I wasn’t going to take the chance on an elective surgery that wasn’t a medical necessity.
My advice to boomer consumers about cosmetic surgery: Think twice before you go under the knife.
Gather information about what will be done
Do research about the procedure. Make sure you are realistic about what the procedure can do. Prepare a list of questions to ask during the first visit. Take notes carefully or have a friend go with you to write everything down.
Consider the costs and recovery time and compare prices. Don’t have cosmetic surgery to meet someone else’s expectations, if your life is stressful, or if you’re depressed.
Find a good surgeon
Select a qualified cosmetic surgeon who is experienced in the procedure and is certified by his or her specialty by an appropriate board recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialists, recommends MayoClinic.com in its Web page “Cosmetic Surgery: What to Know Beforehand.”
Ask your general practitioner and your friends for suggestions on surgeons. Get references from the surgeon and call his or her patients to see what they have to say about their procedure and working with the surgeon.
You’ll likely be happier with your surgery the more closely you work with your surgeon to establish specific, measurable, and achievable goals before surgery, the article suggests.
Learn about possible side effects
All of the usual surgical risks apply if you have plastic surgery, the article states. You have a higher risk of developing complications such as pneumonia, stroke, heart attack, and blood clots in the legs or lungs, if you have cardiovascular disease or lung disease, or if you’re obese.
The Mayo Clinic article reports other possible surgical complications include:
- Nausea, dizziness, and pain.
- Numbness and tingling.
- An accumulation of clear fluid beneath the wound.
- A collection of blood beneath the closed incision.
- Skin breakdown
- Bleeding requiring a transfusion
- Infection at the site of surgery.
- A drop in body temperature.
Be aware plastic surgery is a growing business
Almost 12 million cosmetic plastic surgery procedures were performed in 2007 – a 7 percent increase from 2006 and a 59 percent increase from 2000, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Also, 5.1 million reconstructive plastic surgery procedures were performed last year.
The top five surgical procedures were:
- Breast augmentation – 348,000, up 6 percent.
- Liposuction – 302,000, unchanged.
- Nose reshaping – 285,000, down 7 percent.
- Eyelid surgery – 241,000, up 3 percent.
- Tummy tuck – 148,000, up 1 percent.
Minimally invasive cosmetic procedures rose by nine percent, to nearly 10 million procedures. Hyaluronic acid fillers – Restylane®, Hylaform®, Hylaform Plus®, and JuvedermTM – jumped from fifth most popular in 2006 to second most popular in 2007.
The top five minimally invasive procedures were:
- Botox® – 4.6 million, up 13 percent from 2006.
- Hyaluronic acid fillers – 1.1 million, up 35 percent.
- Chemical peel – 1 million, down 4 percent.
- Laser hair removal – 906,000, up 2 percent.
- Microdermabrasion – 897,000, up 10 percent.
Baby boomers are adding skin and body lift procedures in increasing numbers. Since 2005 for people ages 40 to 54, thigh lifts increased 27 percent, lower body lifts increased 24 percent, upper arm lifts increased 23 percent, thread (face) lifts increased 22 percent, breast lifts increased 11 percent, and tummy tucks increased 7 percent.
Review these articles for more information
In addition to the Mayo Clinic article, here are resources to review if you're considering cosmetic surgery:
“Think Twice Before Going Under the Knife” – City A.M.
“The 15 Worst Celebrity Plastic Surgery Disasters You Will Ever See” – The Top Socialite
“Think Twice Before Liposuction” – News-Medical.Net
“12 Reasons Not to Have Plastic Surgery” – Plastic Surgery in Los Angeles
“Thinking About Permanent Makeup? Think Twice” – MySkinCareConnection.com
“Higher Risk of Death From Liposuction Than Car Crashes” – Cosmetic Surgery Bible
“Donda West Dies Following Plastic Surgery, Had ‘Multiple Procedures,’ Was Refused By One Surgeon” – The Huffington Post
“Adventures in Plastic Surgery” – Slate
“Finding A Plastic Surgeon” – consumeraffairs.com