Plastic Surgery Procedure Specific Questions
What is Plastic Surgery? | What kind of plastics are
used? | Why Plastic rather than some other material?
Plastic surgery is named from the Greek word "plastikos" which means "to shape",
based on the surgeon re-shaping the form of the patient's form through surgery.
It has nothing to do with the types of materials used in the surgery itself. In
surgery, many different materials may be utilized, depending on the desired
results and the type of surgery. Frequently, the surgeon will make use of the
patient's own tissues, including tissues from another location of the body, or
by reshaping the existing tissues to achieve a better appearance. Historically,
many materials have been used in cosmetic and reconstructive surgery, including
ivory, wood, and others. In modern times, hard silicone rubber is a popular
material. This should not be confused with the gel silicone which has sparked so
much controversy through its use as a filler for breast implants.
What is the difference between "Cosmetic" and "Reconstructive" surgery?
Generally speaking, if a surgery is done primarily to improve the health of a
person, or the function of an organ, it is considered medically necessary.
Surgeries such as corrective rhinoplasty to improve air flow through the nose,
surgery to improve the field of vision by lifting sagging, droopy eyelids might
fall into this category. These surgeries may or may not also improve the
patient's appearance, but this is a secondary purpose. If a surgery is done with
the primary goal of improving the appearance of the patient, this is considered
a cosmetic procedure. Usually these procedures must be paid for out of pocket,
except in some cases of correcting accidental or congenital deformity.
It is worth noting that these lines are often blurry, especially in terms of
coverage by medical insurancAs an example, a scar revision for an automobile
accident injury may be covered by an auto insurance policy, yet another surgery,
identical from a medical standpoint, that resulted from an accident fall injury
might not be covered by insurance. Another example is breast reconstruction
following breast cancer surgery -- some insurance companies will cover this,
while others consider this primarily cosmetic in nature. It goes without saying
that this is a hotly contested issue between those insurance companies and the
What parts of the body do you do Plastic Surgery on?
There are commonly performed cosmetic procedures for virtually every part of the
face, including the neck, nose, eyes, ears chin, cheekbones, forehead, as well
as the breasts and abdomen. Additionally, scar revision and liposuction
surgeries are potentially possible on most areas of the body.
Is there any visible scarring?
Any time a cut or incision is made in the skin, there is a scar left behind as
part of the normal healing process. Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons have
received special training and have extensive experience with minimizing the size
of these scars, creating the least noticeable appearance of then, and locating
them in the least conspicuous areas possible. Often the scars will become
undetectable to all but the most careful examination over the course of time.
How long is a typical recovery period for most operations?
Generally, 1-2 weeks for most procedures, although this varies from one patient
to the next, as well as from one procedure to the next.
Will it be covered by my medical insurance?
In general, if it is cosmetic, your medical insurance will not cover the surgery
or treatment. (See the questions regarding the difference between 'plastic' and
'reconstructive' surgeries for more on this topic).
How long does it take for an operation?
On an average, most surgeries take 2-3 hours in the operating room, with the
most extensive of multiple procedures lasting several hours. Additional time is
often required for preparation before, and rest & recovery time after the
surgery itself, particularly when sedation or a general anesthetic is
How long does it take to heal?
This varies greatly depending on the procedure in question. For small,
non-invasive procedures, such as laser tattoo removal, or collagen therapy,
patients are ready to return to normal activity immediately after treatment. For
procedures like laser skin resurfacing or blepharoplasty, patients may be ready
for most normal activities in 3-6 days, while more extensive surgeries such as
abdominoplasty or extensive liposuction may require a more extended convalescenc
The body's complete healing process takes longer than this initial recovery
time, and may last from several week up to a year or more as incisions heal
completely and tissues achieve their maximum recovery.
What are the risks?
All surgeries entail risks, such as bleeding, possible infection, etc. Please
see the information on the specific surgery, or consult with a qualified surgeon
for more detailed information.
Can you make me look like (insert name of favorite celebrity here)?
Plastic surgery can achieve impressive results for a patient with realistic
expectations and goals. To many, the results may even seem 'miraculous', however
to think you can be made over so completely as to look just like another person
entirely is still the stuff of Hollywood movies and fiction novels Cosmetic
plastic surgery's primary focus on refining a person's appearance, rather than
changing it entirely.
What are the most common surgeries?
Among the most frequently performed surgeries are: breast augmentation surgery,
rhinoplasty, facelift and blepharoplasty (eyelid surgery).
What about the use of endoscopes in plastic surgery? Is this just a
sales tool? What is the advantage of using an Endoscope in plastic surgery? What
procedures are performed with it?
The endoscope is an instrument which allows the surgeon to utilize a very small
incision and still see the actual surgical location deep under the tissues. This
means that a minimal scar in the axilla can be made, without compromising
the results of the surgery. To achieve an equivalent degree of visibility and
control without an endoscope, the surgeon would need to make a larger incision
in a more visible location.
For comparative purposes, this type of procedure is similar in nature to
orthoscopic surgeries that have become popular in the media recently for joint
surgeries on athletes.
This is not to say that a good result cannot be achieved without an endoscope,
but it is more challenging for the surgeon, who is operating solely 'by feel'.