If you’re like most people considering plastic surgery, the first question on your mind isn’t what kind of surgery you need, or who should perform it, but something much more basic: “Do I Need It?”
As an independent plastic surgery consultant, I don’t stand to gain or lose by recommending any services. My role is to offer advice to people who are unhappy about their appearance and don’t know where to start. Sometimes plastic surgery is the answer, while other times, simple changes, such as new makeup, hair color, diet and exercise, or over-the-counter treatments can do the trick.
Over my 20-year career, I’ve counseled thousands of patients. The most frequently asked questions led me to write my book, Do I Need it? (And What If I do?) Answers to All Your Questions About Plastic Surgery. This practical guide covers health, aging, beauty, and is a good resource for helpful advice and candid answers about plastic surgery.
When I first meet with new clients, I ask them questions that indicate whether they’re good candidates for plastic surgery. Here’s a quick test to help you understand your own motivation for having a procedure. How many of the following statements do you agree with?
- I am choosing to enhance my appearance because I want to, the motivation comes from within me, and no one is influencing or pressuring me.
- I am realistic about what I want to achieve; I am not looking for a radical result. I don’t want to or expect to change who I am.
- I understand that cosmetic enhancement can improve my appearance but will not change my life.
- I accept that the results of my treatment may be permanent, that there are potential risks and that no result is guaranteed.
- My emotional and physical health is stable and I have no pending health disorders, physical or mental.
- I can afford the costs of surgery, including non-monetary costs, such as recovery time and time off from work.
If you agree with these, the next step is choosing the right surgeon. While there are many excellent, qualified professionals, there are also some red flags to be aware of when interviewing a plastic surgeon. If any of these arise, the doctor should not be performing any procedure on you:
- Prior to treatment, you’re not given information, consent documents or pre/post instructions.
- The doctor is willing to perform surgery without giving you a health evaluation.
- You’re offered special prices as an incentive to commit to surgery right away, and pricing is not outlined prior to treatment.
- Your doctor trivializes the risks involved with the procedure and makes unrealistic promises or guarantees.
- You feel like the doctor and/ or his staff is pressuring you to make a commitment and is willing to perform unrelated procedures, or suggests procedures unrelated to your stated goals.
- Last, but most important, make sure the doctor has all the proper accredited medical certifications.
There’s much more to the whole process after these important first steps, including proper preparation for surgery and what to keep in mind as you recover. But feeling confident that you’re having plastic surgery for the right reasons, and finding the best possible care, will help to ensure that everything goes as smoothly as possible to give you the best results – at any age.
About Francesca Camp, M.S.W.
Francesca Camp is a leading independent plastic surgery consultant who has counseled thousands of patients during her 20-year career. Francesca holds a MSW from New York University and is the author of Do I Need it? (And What If I do?) Answers to All Your Questions About Plastic Surgery (Archway Books), a comprehensive, practical guide that covers health, aging, beauty, and real-life advice for those considering plastic surgery. A victim of an accident years ago that left her with a broken cheekbone and other fractures, she realized that her own life changing experience could be used to help others who face similar circumstances.