Six Strategies For Safe Cosmetic Surgery

Written by Dr. Hema Sundaram

Go Light

Less invasive procedures don’t require general anesthesia or sedation, are scar-free and often give more natural-looking results than going under the knife. They can be adjusted to remain natural-looking as you age and, though it may seem counter-intuitive, they can actually last longer than invasive surgery. For example, non-surgical face lifting with the hyaluronic acid fillers, Perlane®, Restylane® and Juvéderm, requires little more than numbing cream, an ice pack and perhaps a local anesthetic if you’re sensitive. Although these fillers are considered “temporary”, they may be a lot more permanent than we realize: Recent studies show that Restylane can stimulate your skin to produce its own collagen[5], and have resulted in the FDA approving the re-labeling of Juvéderm for longevity of up to one year[6]. Another “go light” strategy is to combine invasive and non-invasive procedures to minimize your time under general anesthesia. If your neck is really sagging but your face is merely wrinkled, consider a surgical neck lift but pass up a face lift and have fractional laser resurfacing of your face instead.

Divide and Conquer

If you must have general anesthesia or sedation, minimize the time you’re under by dividing your surgery into separate sessions rather than trying to do it all at once. For instance, when a patient requests liposuction of several problem areas, I start with the abdomen and hips and then tackle the inner and outer thighs in a subsequent session.

Know Your ABCs

Check the Ability (through patient feedback) and Board certification (via your state medical board) of both your surgeon and your anesthesiologist… and the accreditation of your surgical facility.  The “C” of the ABCs is Chemistry. Make sure you have sufficient rapport with your entire surgical team and that you feel comfortable approaching them with your questions and concerns both before and after surgery.

Don’t Check Out of your Check-Ups

Follow your surgeon’s advice regarding pre-operative check-ups and testing. I advise all my patients who require general anesthesia or sedation to see their primary care physicians for a check-up and for blood tests, chest x-rays and cardiac studies as appropriate.

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