Who Can Get Cosmetic Surgery?

If you’re healthy, have reasonable expectations and know the risks associated with the procedure you’re considering, you may be a good candidate for cosmetic surgery. If you have serious health problems like diabetes, high blood pressure, a bleeding disorder, heart disease or depression, you may not be a good candidate for cosmetic surgery. Also, you might not be a good candidate for a cosmetic procedure is you’re obese or you smoke or drink too much alcohol.

Pre-Surgical Requirements

You and your surgeon should talk in depth about your health, your lifestyle (including exercise, drinking and smoking), any conditions you have and any medications and/or supplements you take. Tell your doctor about everything you take, even vitamins and herbal products that don’t require a prescription, as some may interfere with other medications used during surgery or increase the risk of bleeding.

Afterward, your surgeon will be able to tell you if cosmetic surgery is a good option for you. Some surgeons may ask you to make some changes before surgery, such as asking you to quit smoking for two to four weeks before surgery and not smoke for at least two to four weeks after surgery to allow the body to heal properly after surgery. If you’re a non-smoker, you should avoid second hand smoke before and after surgery.

Deciding on Cosmetic Surgery

Your particular skin type and other unique characteristics will factor into your decision to have a cosmetic procedure. For instance, skin resurfacing techniques work best on people with fair skin and light-coloured hair and people with thin and delicate nasal skin get the best results from nose surgery (rhinoplasty).

The following list will help you to decide if you’re a good fit for a specific facial procedure:

  • Lip augmentation – If you are young and want fuller lips or are older and your lips have thinned, you could consider this procedure. However, you’re not a good candidate if you have recently taken the acne drug Accutane or if you have one of these conditions: herpes, diabetes, an autoimmune disease like lupus or rheumatoid arthritis or serious allergic reactions of any type. You must accept the risk of having an allergic reaction to the implanted material.
  • Cheek implants – If you have flat cheek bones or early sagging of the cheeks, you could consider this surgical procedure, but you’re not a good candidate if you have excess sagging of the skin, which is best treated with a facelift. You must also accept the risk that the implant could become infected, rejected by your body or shift to an abnormal position requiring additional surgery.
  • Chin implant – If you have a weak chin or your chin isn’t balanced with our nose, you may wish to consider this procedure, but you’re not a good candidate if you have an irregular dental bite that requires realignment of the jaw. You must be able to accept the risk that the implant could become infected, rejected by your body or shift to an abnormal position needing more surgery.
  • Forehead/brow lift – If you have heavy eyebrows, deep forehead wrinkles or frown lines, you’re a good candidate for this surgery. You’re not a good candidate if you are balding or scar easily and you must accept the risk of losing your hair around the surgical area and the possibility of some numbness in your forehead and scalp.
  • Eyelid surgery – If you have droopy eyelids, bags or puffiness around your eyes, you’re a good candidate for eyelid surgery. Conditions that prevent you from having this surgery include dark circles, fine lines or crow’s feet. Although it is very rare, you must be able to accept the risk of blindness after having this procedure along with dry eyes, visible scars and eyelid “pulling,” which can cause eye irritation.
  • Nasal surgery – If you have a large or crooked nose that’s droopy or has a bump, you could consider nasal surgery (rhinoplasty). If you have thick skin, are a child not fully physically developed or play contact sports, you’re not a good candidate for this procedure.  You must also be able to accept the possibility that addition surgery is needed in 15 – 20 percent of cases for best results.
  • Face/neck lift – If the skin and soft tissues on your face and neck sag, with deep wrinkles, jowls and a double chin, you could consider having this surgery. However, if your skin is not elastic and flexible or if you are significantly overweight, you’re not a good candidate for this procedure. Risks include skin loss, scarring, numbness, partial facial paralysis or a change in your hairline.

None of these procedures last forever and they won’t stop the natural aging process. Consider if you’re the right age for cosmetic surgery. A facelift done in your 30s may only last five or 10 years. You may want to delay the procedure until you’re in your 40s or 50s so you’ll only have to have one or two procedures.

Age Requirements

There is no age limit for having elective cosmetic surgery but, if you are under the age of 18, you must have parental consent, unless you are an emancipated minor and have a court order to that effect.

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