New York, NY (November 29, 2004) — The holiday season, beginning with Thanksgiving, is when many people take time off from work for plastic surgery, determined to meet the New Year with a new attitude and a new look. In some cases, patients say their surgery is an early holiday “gift” from a husband or wife, “significant other” or parent. Cosmetic plastic surgery may be a welcome “gift” if plumper lips or a smoother forehead are on your loved-one’s holiday wish list, but there are some important things you should know first.
“Regardless of who pays the bill, surgery must always be self-motivated,” says Peter B. Fodor, MD, president of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) and a plastic surgeon in Los Angeles. “Nobody should undergo plastic surgery at someone else’s suggestion or simply because it is offered to them as a gift.” Make sure the idea for plastic surgery came from the person who intends to have it, and not from a well-meaning spouse, relative or friend.
“It’s important to remember that cosmetic surgery is not a commodity like a handbag or tie, where one size fits all, ” says Dr. Fodor. “A patient first needs to be evaluated by a qualified plastic surgeon to determine if he or she is a good candidate for a specific procedure.” In some cases, a patient may not be a suitable candidate — either for medical reasons, or because he needs to lose weight first or perhaps because the procedure he has in mind is not the correct one to address his particular problem.
“Decisions about plastic surgery should never be made without a thorough understanding of both the benefits and the risks of a procedure,” says Dr. Fodor. One of the important factors that plastic surgeons evaluate when interviewing prospective patients is whether they have realistic expectations about the potential results of surgery, including the possibility of complications.
“Patients need to take responsibility for selecting a qualified surgeon — one who is board-certified in an appropriate specialty, usually plastic surgery — and checking on surgical facility accreditation. These are not things that can be decided by someone else, even if the surgery is a gift.” Dr. Fodor is concerned that the increasing popularization of cosmetic surgery, particularly as presented on “reality” television programs, has led to complacency about patient safety. Who will perform the surgery and where are factors that must be carefully investigated and considered by every patient prior to making a commitment to surgery. Members of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery are certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, have significant documented experience in cosmetic surgery, and operate only in accredited surgical facilities.
Plastic surgery takes planning. If you expect to receive a “gift” of plastic surgery, or want to give one, make sure that everyone involved does their homework well ahead of time. A self-motivated, well-informed patient is most likely to end up a satisfied patient and to appreciate the support of a loved one in making this important decision.