The most important factor in deciding whether to have cosmetic surgery is to have a clear understanding of what will happen before, during and after the procedure, and what results to expect. Many physical characteristics can be successfully changed, while others cannot. The more realistic a person's expectations, the more likely she or he will be satisfied with the results.
Meeting the Surgeon
During the first meeting, your surgeon will explain how cosmetic surgery can change the body and what you can expect as a result. This is an opportunity for patients to explain what they hope to achieve with surgery. Understanding the options and possible outcomes will help make the best decision.
Patients will be informed about specific procedures, what to expect, the benefits, risks and possible complications, as well as other alternatives. The physician may recommend additional procedures to enhance the overall result.
The concept of asymmetry will be explained. The human body is asymmetric, meaning one side of the body looks naturally different from the other. Consider the image reflected in the mirror — a photographic image is a true image, the opposite of the mirror image. The surgeon helps patients understand this so they can fully appreciate their true appearance and how this may change with cosmetic surgery.
The surgeon also will explain the concept of balance — how changing one part of the body may affect overall appearance and how additional surgical procedures may bring greater balance.
Following the surgeon's consultation patients meet with a registered nurse, who reviews general questions about health, current medications — including aspirin, vitamin E, over-the-counter medications and supplements — and lifestyle issues, such as smoking history. The nurse will also review what patients can expect following surgery, including pain, medications, diet, activity and work restrictions, and details such as the need to arrange for a ride home following the procedure.
By listening and following instructions from the surgeon and health care team, patients can help minimize the risks and complications of surgery.
Patients will be asked to sign a consent form so that photographs may be taken before and after surgery. Photographs serve as a reference for the surgeon during the procedure and become a part of the cosmetic surgery patient record.
Estimate of Costs
Patients will be asked to visit the Business Office to get a Cosmetic Surgery Package Quotation, a written estimate of surgical fees. Insurance typically does not cover cosmetic surgery procedures. Prepayment is required prior to surgery.
Patients may be scheduled for a pre-operative examination to assess general health prior to surgery.
Cosmetic surgery procedures requiring general anesthesia or IV (intravenous) sedation are performed in the hospital under the care of an anesthesiologist/nurse anesthetist team. Others procedures, such as injections of facial fillers, may be performed in an outpatient setting or physician's office under local anesthesia. Prior to surgery, patients see the surgeon (or a member of your health care team) one more time to answer any remaining questions.
Prior to outpatient surgery or before discharge from the hospital, patients will receive:
- Instructions for post-surgical care specific to your procedure
- Limited amounts of supplies, as well as information on where to purchase them
- Medication instructions/prescriptions (i.e., pain medications, antibiotics)
- Phone numbers to call for questions
Patience and time are important to recovery. Even with instruction and preparation, patients may be alarmed by the bruising and swelling that follow cosmetic surgery and how long they last. Bruising may take a minimum of three weeks to diminish; swelling may take even longer. Camouflage cosmetics may be helpful during this time.
It is not uncommon to experience a brief period of "the blues" or low spirits during recovery. Prematurely judging the results of the surgery or waiting to return to normal activities may contribute to feelings of disappointment and frustration.
The health care team members are committed to compassionate understanding of patient's concerns and to be available to answer questions.
Cosmetic surgery staff
The physicians who do cosmetic surgery at Mayo Clinic are all board-certified in their specialities and experienced in cosmetic and reconstructive surgery. Many have earned national reputations for their expertise.