All of the women in my family have had plastic surgery- facelifts (multiple), breast augmentation, a Lifestyle Lift. We’re not much on injectables in my family, just old school surgery.
With that in mind, I grew up expecting that at some point I would get a facelift (if not two or three like my aunt and grandmother).
These are beautiful women. They were beautiful to start with, and used a facelift to keep up their good looks well into their 60s, 70s and 80s. As a younger child I had no clue, they just looked… like themselves. And I had no judgment about getting a procedure, because that's just how things are in Texas.
As I grew older I saw examples of too much work done, and realized that not everyone looked as flawless as the women in my family. Then I started to hear stories of surgeries gone wrong, worst case scenarios. So over the years, I developed a fear about getting plastic surgery. I knew it could work out well, but I became afraid that if anything were to go wrong, it would be my vanity that caused it. Or that even if it was a safe outcome, that maybe the result wouldn’t be exactly what I envisioned.
In the year and a half that I have been writing for the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, I've come to understand that many factors go into successful surgeries. Reassuringly, many of which lie with the patient even more than the procedure or the doctor.
Here's what I worried, and what I’ve learned-
Fear 1: Consulting with a plastic surgeon too much will convince you to do too much plastic surgery.
False! In interviewing so many surgeons, what I’ve heard loud and clear is that they like to be able to advise on a suite of treatments, pulling from all the tricks in their bag – from non-invasive lasers to full surgery. Their goal is to serve the patient in the safest, most effective way. Establishing a relationship based in open, two-way communication helps a surgeon understand what the patient wants, and how to ultimately deliver on that. More consultations do not necessarily mean more surgeries. But they do provide the doctor with more time to study your individual body, seeing how it moves in that unique way that we want to maintain through any enhancements. Creating a result – whatever the procedure - that delivers the best version of you.
Fear 2: Looking too “done.”
The solution to this is twofold. First it starts with the question, do you want to look super “done”? Some people do. So in that case, super taught features were the goal, and in that case, the surgery was a successful in their mind. And that’s all that matters!
Second- If that’s not your goal, and if you--like me--want to look effortlessly youthful without the hint of outside help, then clear communication is the way to go. Find a board-certified plastic surgeon who is dedicated to delivering the best result according to your desires. Find the words to describe what you want and what you don’t want. Share these with your doctor. If you don’t feel they are receptive, move on to one who is ready and willing to be on your team!
Fear 3: Complications in surgery or post-op recovery. While this feels like the biggie, my concerns were assuaged when I learned that there’s so much a patient can do to positively affect the outcome of their surgery. All the doctors I’ve interviewed say that they advise patients to get healthier – quit smoking, drink more water, institute a healthy food and exercise plan-- to prepare for surgery. Experienced professionals know that these are key factors that affect the body’s ability to heal. …And that a healthier patient makes for a better surgery and recovery.
What we see in magazines, or what we notice on others in passing are all examples that truly have no bearing on our personal experience with plastic surgery. The exposure I’ve had to some of this nation’s best surgeons has taught me that each procedure is incredibly personal. And that working with the most experienced surgeon is a great first step to creating the result you wish to see.
This post is presented to the Girl Around Town audience in partnership with
Smart Beauty Guide and The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.