Is Cosmetic Surgery Right For You?
By Dr. Ranit Mishori
Published: June 19, 2005Robert Finfer, president of a national finance and insurance company based in Bethesda, Md., remembers the precise moment he decided to have his eyes done. He was driving his BMW on a beautiful spring morning in 2001, top down, wind in his hair, and happened to glance at himself in the rearview mirror. That was it. “You feel great,” he explains, but “no matter what you do, you look tired.”Bags under the eyes will do that. So Finfer, now 40, went in for an eye job. Men accounted for 1.2 million cosmetic procedures (both surgical and minimally invasive) in 2004, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS). One motivator: a belief that looking younger at work provides an edge. “They don’t like to see themselves getting older,” says Dr. Philip Schoenfeld, a Maryland facial plastic surgeon. Of course, vanity plays a part too. “My family thought that I was crazy,” admits Finfer. “I was young. [The bags were] bothersome to me. I wanted to look refreshed.”
What Men Like
The top five cosmetic surgical procedures for men (in order of popularity, according to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery) and the average costs per patient are:
- Liposuction – $4117
- Eyelid surgery (blepharoplasty) – $3466
- Nose job (rhinoplasty) – $5176
- Male breast reduction (gynecomastia) – $3803
- Hair transplantation – $5350
These procedures account for about 80% of cosmetic surgeries requested by men in the U.S. One key factor to consider: Health insurance rarely picks up the bill.
Gaining in popularity are some nonsurgical treatments. Botox (average cost per person: $477) weakens the fine muscles that are responsible for frowns and wrinkles; laser hair removal ($456) permanently removes chest, leg and back hair; chemical peels ($640) exfoliate top layers of skin; and microdermabrasions ($217) reduce skin-surface irregularities.
What To Expect
Computers may offer an accurate visual simulation of how you’ll look after surgery. Yet many patients have exaggerated expectations for what cosmetic surgeons can accomplish. A facelift or an eye job may not, in reality, make you beautiful. And it’s not necessarily going to change what the world thinks of you. Some patients experience a deep sense of anticlimax when they see the results. Some get angry and even sue their doctors.
What is realistic? Former ASPS President Dr. James Wells, who practices in Long Beach, Calif., says, “There’s no such thing as a perfect nose or a perfect face. You want to get something that looks normal, not obvious.”
Understand, also, that cosmetic surgery hurts. Most work done on your face produces stark bruises and swelling. Usually, you will not be in a hospital. Instead, most procedures are performed on an outpatient basis, either in a doctor’s office or an ambulatory surgical center. (Make sure that the facility is accredited.)
Minimize surprises by asking the surgeon: How long is the procedure? What anesthesia is required? What is the recovery period? Also to consider in facial surgery: Men’s facial skin is thicker and richer in blood supply than women’s, which means a risk of heavier bleeding.Every surgery, however, carries certain risks. Scalpels can slip. Incisions can get infected. There can be problems with anesthesia. That said, when surgery is performed in an appropriate setting by a well-trained surgeon on a patient who fits the description of a “good candidate,” it can be very safe.
A good candidate is a mature, emotionally stable, healthy indivi-dual; ideally he or she is a non-smoker and free of other serious conditions (like heart disease, diabetes or very high blood pressure).
Even if you believe you’re a candidate, don’t rush. Sure, you hate your nose, but it has served you well for a long time. Taking a few weeks to think things through will help. As Dr. Wells says: This is not “I need surgery.” This is “I want surgery.”
Before Deciding Ask Yourself…
- Am I doing this to please myself or someone else? The person who says, “I’ve got to do this because my boss thinks I don’t look very attractive,” or, “I think that if I look more handsome, I can save my marriage,” is not a good candidate, according to Dr. James Wells.
- Can I afford this? If you say, “No,” you’re probably better off learning to live with the face and body you have.
- How will I handle a disappointing result? Dr. Wells suggests that you first answer the question: “What’s the game plan to fix it? Am I willing to be patient, to allow more work to be done?”
source: parade.com June 19, 2005
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