Tummy tucks, liposuction and face-lifts all promise no-hassle perfection, but there are risks. Undertaking surgical treatment to improve your appearance is a serious decision and should not be made lightly.
If you are considering a procedure, make sure you get all the facts first. Jan Stanek from 10 Years Younger and 4Beauty have put together a guide to the most common surgical procedures, as well as the risks of cosmetic surgery, the questions you should ask yourself before having surgery, and the best sources for medical information.
"Primarily, it is important to realise that you are committing to real surgery with all the risks that involves," says Jan Stanek, 10 Years Younger's resident cosmetic surgeon and one of the leading surgeons in his field. "It's carried out under anaesthesia, which carries the risk of death. Luckily, death is very rare in cosmetic surgery because the surgery itself, especially facial, is very non-invasive, and patients are screened to check they are fit and well. Good anaesthetists will not accept high-risk patients for anaesthesia."
Other risks of surgery include infection, bleeding, bad scarring, non-healing and permanent numbness. There's also the risk that you will be unhappy with the results. "I always say to my prospective patients that the most devastating complication of cosmetic surgery is dissatisfaction,' says Jan. "But even this complication can be corrected, providing that the underlying cause is not something serious, such as body dysmorphia. Risks can be quantified but, at the end of the day, they can happen to you."
Jan recommends that patients consider the following before committing to surgery:
Assuming that you have considered the risks and opted for surgery, how should you prepare? "First and foremost, trust your surgeon, who will do his or her best to take you safely through surgery and look after you," says Jan. "Get yourself fit and healthy, stop smoking and cut down on alcohol. In other words, follow the instructions provided by your surgeon. They are issued for your benefit to achieve what you want: to enjoy life and be happier with yourself."