3 Things Plastic Surgeons Wish Patients Knew About Surgery

When you opt for elective surgery, such as cosmetic surgery, the guidelines are far more stringent than those for lifesaving procedures. In fact, most reputable plastic surgeons won't perform a lot of procedures if they don't feel the prospective patient is emotionally and physically healthy. Here are three things you need to know if you have been considering cosmetic surgery.

Nonsmokers Only Need Apply

If a smoker requires emergency surgery, they'll obviously be treated, but most surgeons won't voluntarily operate on someone who is an active smoker. In fact, many doctors insist their patients quit for two or more months before they will do any elective surgical procedures.

Anesthesiologists, the doctors who administer the anesthesia, the drugs that "put you under" during surgical procedures, also have a much tougher job with smokers. A smoker may have heart and lung problems during or after surgery. The risk of a heart attack increases. Smokers may need to be ventilated, where a machine breathes for them. Incisions also take longer to heal and are more likely to become infected in smokers. If you want to have a cosmetic surgical procedure, you're going to have to quit smoking first.

Lose Excess Weight

Perhaps the cosmetic surgery procedure you want is a tummy tuck. You may be wondering why you would need to lose weight then. More than one-third of Americans are now unacceptably overweight or obese. Just as anesthesia can be dangerous in smokers, so too, can anesthesia be dangerous for overweight patients. People who are overweight usually have high blood pressure and high cholesterol. They may also have diabetes. Heart disease is not uncommon, either. All of these conditions require medications, which can interfere with anesthesia. Additionally, the physicals aspects of administering anesthesia are more difficult due to the increased size of the patient. For example, finding veins can be harder. Determining the right amount and combination of drugs is more complicated.

So, you may want that tummy tuck, but you are likely going to have to do the hard work and lose much of the weight first. Thankfully, your tummy tuck procedure will be more successful after your weight loss.

Check Your Mental Health

Reputable plastic surgeons are going to want to know why you want the cosmetic surgery or procedures you do. They will discuss what it is you hope to accomplish with the procedure. If your goals aren't realistic or if you have a history or body dysmorphic disorder, where you are obsessed with your perceived body flaws, the plastic surgeon will likely delve a little deeper and suggest waiting until you are emotionally healthy.

Talk with a plastic surgeon about the cosmetic surgery you want to have done and how you need to prepare.