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1. Who is a Cosmetic Surgeon or a Plastic Surgeon?
Plastic and cosmetic surgeons are doctors who specialize in reconstructive surgery of the face and body for medical or cosmetic purposes. Plastic and cosmetic surgeons have similar training, but they have different goals in their practice. A plastic surgeon performs reconstructive surgery for medical purposes, with the goal of returning normal function and appearance. A cosmetic surgeon primarily works to enhance appearance. To become a plastic surgeon, after graduating from medical school, a doctor completes a residency program in general surgery followed by further training in plastic surgery. To further specialize in cosmetic surgery, a plastic surgeon may complete a post-residency fellowship in aesthetic or cosmetic surgery.
2. When Should I See a Cosmetic or a Plastic Surgeon?
Your primary care physician might refer you to a plastic surgeon if you have:
• Wounds, deformities or mutilations of the face, body, or extremities due to accidents, burns, surgery, or trauma
• Pressure sores
• Dupuytren’s disease
• Previous mastectomy, or other cancer surgeries
• Congenital defects such as a cleft lip and cleft palate, or congenital nevus
• Vascular anomalies
• Soft tissue infections or tumors
• Skin cancer
You would go to see a cosmetic surgeon if you wanted to enhance your appearance for nonmedical reasons. You can also go to a plastic surgeon online to get more information/opinion.
3. What Tests Do Cosmetic and Plastic Surgeons Perform or Recommend?
Cosmetic and plastic surgeons may recommend a number of medical tests, including blood tests and urine tests to ensure that you are fit for surgery. These include:
• Complete blood count (CBC)
• Coagulation tests PT, PTT
• Electrocardiogram (ECG)
• Mammogram before breast surgery
• Computerized tomography (CT) scan
• Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan
• Tissue biopsies
4. What Procedures Does a Cosmetic and a Plastic Surgeon Perform or Recommend?
A plastic surgeon may perform the following procedures:
• Skin grafting
• Tissue flap procedure
• Reconstructive surgeries
• Microsurgery to attach a broken or amputated finger or toe
• Reconstructive surgery for congenital defect such as cleft lip or palate
• Hand surgery for carpal tunnel syndrome, extra fingers, accidental damage, and Dupuytren’s contracture
• Foot surgery for webbed feet or extra toes
• Scar revision
• Adipose stem cell therapy
• Gynecomastia surgery
• Panniculectomy (body contouring) after bariatric surgery
• Breast reconstruction
• Sex reassignment surgery
• Amputations and replantations
• Prominent ears correction (otoplasty)
You would go to see a cosmetic surgeon for elective procedures such as:
• Breast augmentation or reduction
• Face lift or enhancement
• Liposuction or liposculpture
• Gluteal augmentation
• Lip augmentation
• Botulinum toxin injections
• Fat injections
• Hair transplantation
• Laser resurfacing
• Filler treatments
5. What Questions Should I Ask A Cosmetic and Plastic Surgeon?
You may want to ask plastic surgeon these kinds of questions:
• Is this surgery right for my age? Are there any other treatment options available?
• Which surgical technique are you going to use?
• What type of anesthesia will I receive?
• How many surgeries of this type have you done?
• Will I need more surgeries in future and when?
• Should I keep taking my other medicines before the surgery?
• Do I need to stop smoking or drinking alcohol before my surgery?
• What are the complications of the surgery?
• What are the side effects of these procedures?
• How long does recovery take? Are there any restrictions during my recovery?
• How long will the procedure last? Can I get it done again?
• What can reduce my pain and discomfort?
• What precautions do I need to take post-surgery? Do I need to prepare my home for post-op recovery period?
• What symptoms should I watch for?
• What are my options if I am not satisfied with the cosmetic outcome of the surgery?