When planning to get plastic surgery, patients often wonder whether it would be best to fix one small item at a time or whether to do many procedures at once.
Both methods can be useful, but patients need to fully consider their needs, wants, and the risks of the surgery before proceeding.
P. Daniel Ward, M.D., a double board-certified facial plastic surgeon, lays out the thought process behind both treatment plans and gives insider tips on how to plan your surgery.
Patients may be interested in a gradual change to their appearance or reconstruction, rather than making a big change all at once. This is especially true with facial procedures, where everyone will be able to see the immediate results. Having the nose, cheeks, and ears worked on may be best one at a time. Patients who go for the entire package at once may notice that they receive more negative comments from their friends and family.
Small, subtle changes are right for many patients, especially if they are interested in a “natural” look. The nose can be reshaped gradually, enabling it to blend in with the patient’s existing look. However, there is also a strong argument for making many changes all at once.
Patients may want to make a large change in their physical appearance for many reasons. Patients may find this approach useful for reconstruction after a dramatic accident, may feel as if they are moving forward from a painful time in their lives, or they may want to start fresh with their appearance.
This technique can be useful because when the surgeries are done all together, there is far less recovery time needed than if the procedures were done one at a time. The patient may recover more slowly than they would from one small procedure, but when added up, the overall recovery time will be shorter for the complete process.
An added benefit is that this approach will only require one round of antibiotics and pain medication, significantly reducing the likelihood of complications.
Planning Your Surgery
First, visit with a reputable board-certified facial plastic surgeon. This surgeon and his or her office staff will be able to make you comfortable and will answer any questions you may have about the procedure. They will go over your wishes and needs in detail, letting you know how realistic your vision may be.
Plastic surgery is a major commitment, and sometimes it is necessary for the physician to make sure you are serious about it. Patients should not take this level of concern the hard way but be happy that the doctor has his or her best interests in mind.
Surgeons also know that they need to identify patients who will never be happy with the level of changes that are offered. They often decline to take on these patients, possibly causing discontent with the patient but in the end saving them the time, trouble, and expense.
When planning your treatment, bring examples of the changes you are looking for. It helps to find photos of celebrities or family members who have the facial features you want to emulate.
Photos of yourself at younger ages can also help the surgeon decide how to approach your procedure and are especially useful for surgical reconstruction.
Use Non-Surgical Methods as Well
Surgical procedures can be complemented by the use of non-invasive methods like injectables, chemical peels, laser resurfacing, and fillers.
Using this complete suite of methods means that your facial plastic surgeon will be able to plan the best possible course of treatment for you as an individual.
Plastic Surgery and You
If you are looking into getting plastic surgery, make sure that you go over these points with your surgeon. Finding the right balance of speed and subtlety will make your treatment run more smoothly in the end.
P. Daniel Ward, M.D., recommends that all plastic surgery patients work closely with their doctors to create the best possible treatment plan for their needs.