Managing Expectations

Posted by Dr. Safa on May 11th, 2012 in Choosing a Surgeon

Plastic surgery is an investment. Alterations to the body require a certain amount of upkeep, and any doctor who claims that the effects of a procedure will last forever is dishonest. Although plastic surgery can mask the signs of aging, it cannot stop the process. It is natural for the human body to deteriorate as we age, and those who undergo plastic surgery must understand that most procedures are a treatment, not a cure.

Every patient is different. Typically, revisions are needed every 10-15 years. Even with deeper-planed face lifting, people still continue to age, and gravity still continues to pull things down. It is not uncommon for patients, especially those with breast operations, to require a lift or new implants. When patients commit to a surgery, it is essential that they understand that it is a lifelong commitment that goes beyond the initial process. Some patients won’t need revisions for an extended length of time, and there are others who require revisions after only five years. This is due to the fact that everyone’s body has a different reaction to foreign material. Although the skill level of the surgeon can be attributed to symmetry and natural results, ultimately revisions are needed regardless.

Aging is not the only factor that must be considered. Implants are a foreign object, and the body treats them as such. In response, the body tries to separate the foreign body with a protective barrier, forming what is called a capsule. Capsules are very common and are found within all types of implants such as indwelling catheters and knee replacements, and often they do not need to be removed. Unfortunately, they can become problematic in breast implants. The nature of a breast implant is soft, and as capsules form within the body, they change the shape and consistency of the breast. Not only does this become a cosmetic deformity, but a tight capsule in the breast can also cause pain. Therefore, revisions are necessary to regain the proper consistency of the implant as well as remove any painful capsules that the body has built in defense.

It is hard to predict how our bodies will react to a foreign substance or when the signs of aging will catch up with us once again. Patients must be well informed that 10-15 years is only an average, and that any procedure is going to require maintenance at one point or another. Even the best plastic surgeons cannot ward off the hands of time.

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