Before making an appointment to see a cosmetic surgeon, people should consider their motives for wanting to change how they look. Because cosmetic surgery can bring lasting and dramatic changes to the outside appearance, it is important to understand how these changes may affect people on the inside.
Many physical characteristics can be successfully changed through cosmetic surgery; others cannot. Good candidates for cosmetic surgery:
- Have realistic expectations about what can be accomplished.
- Understand the medical risks, physical effects during healing, how the surgery will affect them personally and professionally, what lifestyle changes may accompany the recovery period, and the expenses involved.
- Have discussed their goals for surgery with their surgeon and resolved any questions.
- Have diabetes or other chronic medical conditions under control.
- Have no history of smoking or commit to abstain from smoking (including secondhand smoke) and nicotine products, including chewing tobacco and nicotine patches, gums or lozenges for six weeks before and after surgery.
- Have had a stable weight for six months to one year.
Reasons to stop smoking if considering cosmetic surgery
- Nicotine, carbon monoxide and other toxins decrease blood flow to the skin.
- Smoking affects wound healing and worsens scarring.
- Smoking increases the risk of post-anesthesia complications (pneumonia, blood clots, hypertension).