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Five Things to Consider Before Getting Cosmetic Surgery

Five Things to Consider Before Getting Cosmetic Surgery

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The decision to undergo cosmetic surgery is no small matter. Unfortunately, thousands of people get BOTOX® injections, breast implants, and other pretty-me-up procedures every year without soberly assessing the risks and potential downsides. For all too many, the result is regret, disappointment, and recurring thoughts of "what was I thinking?" If you're thinking about cosmetic surgery, you have to at least consider the possibility that you could end up dissatisfied with your results. With this in mind, here are five things to mull over before going under the knife or gun.

1) Are you getting cosmetic surgery for the right reasons?

Many people believe cosmetic surgery will rescue them from a distressing circumstance or situation. It is common to see people resorting to surgery as a means of saving failing relationships, improving their social lives, or coping with a mid-life crisis. If you are trying to justify cosmetic surgery with these or similar reasons, stop. Cosmetic surgery is not for you, and there is ample evidence that people who get it done for these reasons have major regrets later on. The decision to undergo cosmetic surgery should not be founded on insecurity.

2) Have you considered the cost and recovery time?

Most types of cosmetic surgery are not covered by traditional health insurance. In other words, you'll be paying for those breast enhancements or that BOTOX® injection out of pocket. This is a pretty big deal if, like most people, you are not particularly wealthy. As we've reported, the national average of a breast implants cost ranges from $3,000 to $4,000, and your eventual cost could be even higher. Can you afford to pay that? Also, cosmetic surgery is similar to other surgical procedures in that some recovery time will be necessary. In addition to paying for the procedure, can you also afford to miss days or weeks of work?

3) Are you okay with the worst case scenario?

Cosmetic surgery is far from a sure thing from a safety standpoint. Breast implants, for example, have been known to leak silicone without the patient immediately realizing it because it leaks out so slowly. This can lead to infections and all kinds of health problems you probably weren't thinking about when you pictured how great your "new look" would be. Before undergoing any cosmetic surgery procedure, you should know the possible risks and be prepared to accept them if they do in fact materialize. Ask yourself, "If the worst case scenario happens, would I be okay with it?" If not, don't get the surgery.

4) Can you handle the possible psychological repercussions?

Even if your surgery goes off without a hitch, there may be psychological repercussions to contend with later. Will you be able to look at yourself in the mirror each day, knowing that you have significantly modified your appearance? Will you be ashamed of having done so? Again, the point is not to shame you or discourage you from getting cosmetic surgery. Plenty of people do it every day and are perfectly happy with the results, but those people aren't you. Try to think as though you've already had the operation done. How do you feel about it? Are you happy about this new change that will remain with you for the rest of your life?

5) Might a small to moderate lifestyle change get you the same or comparable results?

Nobody likes to hear it, but, sometimes, the reason people are overweight or unhappy with their appearance is because of the many poor lifestyle choices they have repeated over many years. When that happens, it often seems easier to get a tummy tuck or weight loss surgery than embark on a radically different and healthier lifestyle. Who wants to actually change the way they live when they can get the visual result in one fell swoop? It sounds great, but it may not be the best approach for you. Ask yourself (and a doctor), “Is this surgery really necessary? Could I, theoretically, start living a healthier life and achieve the look and feel I want naturally?” It might take a little longer, but there will be no side effects, and almost certainly no regrets!

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