By Annette Brooks
Almost anyone who longs to correct or enhance something about their physical appearance can do so today with plastic surgery if they’re a good candidate. Benefits include improved self-confidence and looking as rested and vibrant on the outside as you feel on the inside.
According to the American Plastic Surgery Society’s 2020 Plastic Surgery Statics report, more than 2.3 million cosmetic surgical procedures were performed in the U.S. alone. Although nose reshaping (rhinoplasty) took the #1 spot that year, and eyelid surgery (blepharoplasty) came in second, breast augmentation usually tops the chart. Looking at the last five years, the most common — yet highly customizable — surgical procedures are the same, although the comparative percentages vary year to year.
Breast Augmentation – Breast implants are used to increase breast size, address asymmetries, improve general breast shape, and reverse the loss of fullness due to pregnancies and aging. Today, women have more choices than ever in terms of implant size, shape, and projection, as well as the type of implants available, from saline-filled implants to more natural feeling next-generation silicone-gel options. Most breast implant procedures take one to three hours to complete as outpatient surgeries. If you’re uninterested in implants, ask your plastic surgeon about breast augmentation via fat transfer.
Nose Reshaping (rhinoplasty) – Because the nose is a facial focal point, even people with decently shaped noses get them tweaked with cosmetic nose reshaping for a more perfected look. Regardless of the things about your nose you wish to address — including perceived changes in the nose due to aging — choosing the right plastic surgeon for nose surgery is imperative. Look for a board-certified plastic or facial cosmetic surgeon who is highly qualified and experienced in nose surgery with good outcomes.
Eyelid Surgery (blepharoplasty) – Sagging, heavy upper lids, bags underneath the eyes, and droopy lower lids can make you look tired, gloomy, sad, or even mad. Depending on your goals and personal needs, surgery can be performed on your upper lids, lower lids, or both. Check out before and after pictures of a plastic surgeon’s actual patients. Look for telltale signs of less than stellar eyelid surgery, including an unnatural change in the position of the eyebrows and a hollowed-out look created by removing too much fat around the eyes.
Facelift (rhytidectomy) – Often combined with subtle liposuction to improve contour around the jawline, some facelifts can turn back the clock up to 15 years when performed by an experienced, talented plastic surgeon. Highly customized to the patient, they vary from advanced procedures like deep-plane and SMAS (superficial muscular aponeurotic system) facelifts to minimally invasive mini facelifts that offer faster recovery times.
Liposuction – Several nonsurgical body contouring options are available these days, but when dramatic results matter, liposuction is generally the preferred method. This suction technique used to remove fat from specific areas of the body is also convenient for a plastic surgeon to use in conjunction with another surgical procedure, such as a Mommy Makeover, to sculpt a shapelier silhouette.
Choosing Surgical Over Non-surgical Cosmetic Procedures
Choosing surgical versus nonsurgical procedures usually comes down to results and longevity. Also, some, like a tummy tuck or Mommy Makeover, don’t have a good non-surgical alternative. When weighing options with your surgeon, remember to discuss the following points.
How long should the results last?
In general, surgical cosmetic procedures last longer than non-surgical services that may require regular maintenance procedures or touch-ups to maintain results.
Can the changes be dramatic?
Surgical procedures such as nose reshaping, mommy makeovers, breast implants, and facelifts typically help you achieve more dramatic, noticeable results. This doesn’t mean, however, that your results can’t look natural.
What is the typical recovery time?
Surgery can be more intensive and thus require a longer recovery period. However, keep in mind that plastic surgeons often offer less invasive procedures such as mini facelifts and endoscopic brow lifts, which typically require less time to recover.