1. Health
Send to a Friend via Email
Millicent Odunze, M.D.

Ten Plastic Surgery Myths

By July 23, 2011

Follow me on:

ballyscanlon / Getty Images

Plastic surgery patients are more savvy than ever. Often before a patient visits my office, she has done extensive research on the procedure(s) she desires. Usually the source of the research is world wide web. The internet has made it easy to share information. More often than not, this is a good thing. However in the area of plastic surgery, it can make it hard to distinguish what is fact and what is fallacy. Allow me to clarify some of the more common misconceptions about plastic surgery.

  1. Plastic surgery is not "real" surgery.
  2. Plastic surgery should not be taken lightly. While there are great benefits to undergoing plastic surgery (improved appearance, improved self-esteem, etc.), there are also risks. Every operation, no matter how minor, has certain risks involved, though their likelihood is small. The specific risks to any procedure you are seeking should be discussed during your consultation with your plastic surgeon.

  3. After a plastic surgery procedure, you will have no scars.
  4. All surgical incisions cause scarring. Plastic surgeons have gained a reputation for creating "scarless" incisions. The reason for this is that plastic surgeons are skilled in hiding scars in inconspicuous areas. The truth is scars will never disappear completely. While scars are permanent, they are usually rarely noticeable. Everyone heals differently, due to genetics and personal health factors.

  5. Plastic surgery does not require follow-up examinations.
  6. While it is nice for your plastic surgeon to see the long-term outcome of your results (and to see you!), follow-up visits are for your benefit, not the surgeon's! It is important to keep follow-up appointments to make sure everything is healing normally. It may save you from having undergo a revisional operation. Plastic surgeons have been trained to detect early signs of complications, which may become worse if left untreated. If you do not follow-up with your plastic surgeon, she cannot detect these potential problems.

  7. There are no limitations with plastic surgery in terms of changing your appearance.
  8. Plastic surgeons are doctors, not magicians! Preexisting factors will determine how much of a change your surgeon can perform. For example, an overweight or obese person should not expect to use liposuction as a substitute for proper nutrition and exercise. While liposuction can make an overweight person smaller than when she started, liposuction will not make an overweight or obese person look skinny. Liposuction is usually reserved for spot reduction, not weight reduction.

  9. Only one plastic surgery procedure can be done at a time.
  10. In general, it is indeed possible to have more than one procedure at the same time. However, safety is always the first concern. Combined procedures require more time under anesthesia. Candidates for a combined treatment plan must be able to endure a more prolonged anesthetic time. All patients should have a physical examination and should be medically cleared by a doctor before undergoing surgery.

  11. Plastic surgery requires general anesthesia.
  12. Not all plastic surgery procedures require general anesthesia. Many procedures can be done with a combination of sedation and local anesthetic. Which type of anesthesia you desire is mutually decided on by you and your surgeon. Local anesthetic with sedation involves numbing the area to be treated, accompanied by supplementary medications for sedation. You will be able to hear and respond to questions and instructions. Afterward, however, you will recall little or none of the surgical experience. If you are the type of person who does not want to be awake, you can choose to have a general anesthetic.

  13. Breast augmentation is a one-time only procedure.
  14. Breast augmentation can be a very fulfilling procedure for a woman. However, every woman should be aware that the likelihood of needing subsequent surgery is high. Why? Many women opt to change their initial size, or they may need additional surgery due to breast changes from aging, pregnancy, and weight fluctuations. Additionally, a breast implant can rupture or become hardened, necessitating removal or replacement.

  15. Cosmetic injections with BOTOX Cosmetic and dermal fillers such as JUVEDERM, RESTYLANE, RADIESSE, etc., can replace a facelift.
  16. Cosmetic injections are among the most popular elected medical treatments today, and with good reason. In well-trained hands they provide natural, beautiful enhancements. Cosmetic injections are a good alternative for individuals who do not want to undergo surgery, however they do not take the place of surgery when there is a significant amount of loose facial or neck skin. In these situations, surgical excision of this excess skin is the solution.

  17. Plastic surgery is for people who are vain.
  18. Plastic surgery is not about vanity. If you feel good about your body, you feel better about yourself and the world around you. When you finally undergo plastic surgery to improve the area(s) that trouble you, you will then be better able to concentrate on other aspects of your life.

  19. Plastic surgery is only for wealthy people.
  20. Women of all financial backgrounds are acceptable candidates for plastic surgery. Your plastic surgeon is not concerned about your income. However, your plastic surgeon would like to be paid for services rendered. If necessary, there are various avenues for financing your plastic surgery procedures. Your plastic surgeon will have information on financing programs.

August 17, 2011 at 2:41 pm
(1) Roy Kim, M.D. says:

What an informative article on the 10 plastic surgery myths. This is a great article for my patients to read. I have similar articles on my blog at

October 3, 2012 at 5:02 pm
(2) Erika says:

I’m concerned with communication between doctors and patients.

October 4, 2012 at 8:45 pm
(3) plasticsurgery says:

Hi Erika. Is there a specific concern about communication that you have?

Leave a Comment

Line and paragraph breaks are automatic. Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title="">, <b>, <i>, <strike>

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.

We comply with the HONcode standard
for trustworthy health
information: verify here.