Facing Your Plastic Surgery Fears

Facing Your Plastic Surgery Fears(Excerpted from Dr. Peter Adamson’s book Fabulous Faces available on Amazon.com and edited for our blog. Names of individuals mentioned have been changed to protect their privacy.)

No one decides to get plastic surgery on a whim. Going for a surgical solution to a problem with an aging face or a crooked nose is the polar opposite of making an impulse purchase. Most people think about it for months and proceed only with great caution and much skepticism. Some take years or even decades to decide.

The most common obstacle for someone considering plastic surgery is the fear of an unfavorable result. It’s not the fear that you won’t get everything you want, but the chilling dread of a Titanic-level disaster. You’ve heard the stories: Your Pilates instructor’s niece had her nose done and can now only breathe through her mouth. Or, as Sylvia (who has a house in Florida) says, “Down there, every second woman looks like she can’t close her mouth.”

Many people are afraid of the anesthetic. It’s a pretty scary prospect to have yourself voluntarily knocked out with drugs while a machine helps you breathe for two or three hours. What if you died on the operating table? What would people say? Dire warnings from the Old Testament about vanity swirl in your head. Your friend’s mother had a face-lift and left instructions that, if the worst happened, she should tell everyone that her mother was having a hysterectomy.

Based on these fears, you may think that only a fool would have cosmetic surgery. But only a fool would forge ahead unaware of the risks. And you’re not a fool. By reading this, you’re trying to educate yourself and determine what’s in your own best interests.

The Courage Factor

The courageous person knows the risks, understands what’s in store, and takes decisive and, sometimes, life-altering action. It takes real courage to go ahead with cosmetic facial surgery, but that courage has little to do with your initial fears. Let’s dispel those fears or at least put them in perspective.

Disasters in cosmetic surgery are quite rare. The overall satisfaction rate is very good, and it’s even higher when the surgeon takes a conservative, less-is-more approach. Good cosmetic surgery should never announce itself. The ultimate test is this: You feel better because you look better. You know you look better because people tell you so—but they can’t put their finger on exactly what it is about you that’s changed. It’s that subtle. It’s not about standing out; it’s about blending in.

In very rare cases, an adverse reaction to anesthesia could result in a heart attack or stroke. There are other risks as well, which we’ll go into later. Much care is taken in advance to identify potential risk factors. These include a preoperative screening process, questions about your medical history, X-rays, blood tests, and a medical examination performed by your family doctor. A normal, healthy individual has little to fear from anesthesia or complications during surgery.

Facing your plastic surgery fears all comes down to having the information you need to make the best decision for yourself. You don’t really want an operation. But you may be willing to endure one to get from where you are to where you want to be.

And another thing: We’ve been talking about surgery, but there are also many nonsurgical, noninvasive treatments that you can have. These usually have minimal or no side effects or downtime.

We encourage you to take that first somewhat scary step and call our office. Request a consultation to share with us your goals as well as your plastic surgery fears. We would be very happy to help you understand the risks and get excited about the possibilities.

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