How to Decide, Part 2

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Recognize Asymmetry

You may have noticed that your own photograph does not look exactly like you. This is because you are accustomed to seeing yourself in a mirror, not in a photograph. A photograph represents your true image, which is the opposite of your mirror image. The images are different because we are all asymmetric.

As with the face, the entire human body is typically asymmetric. Because asymmetries can influence your perception of the final result, your surgeon may point them out to you in advance. (Do not be offended.) Typically a surgeon will ask you to look in a mirror. All mirrors show your face in two dimensions, which enhances abnormalities and asymmetries. This makes them easier to identify and address. To help patients fully appreciate asymmetry, some plastic surgeons use a reverse mirror, which reflects true image rather than mirror image.

Ann, a 35-year-old stockbroker, was unable to lose her love handles despite a disciplined diet and rigorous exercise. Following liposuction her result was excellent. Yet, she was disappointed because she still could not fit into her favorite college blue jeans.

Be Wary of Computer Imaging

Computer technology enables plastic surgeons to manipulate patient photographs to demonstrate the effect of a proposed procedure. This may at first seem beneficial because it will help you decide if that procedure is right for you. In reality, computer imaging can be misleading and offer false promises. It shows ideal rather than typical results.

Protect yourself by declining computer imaging until after you have made your decision. Otherwise, even though you will be told that your result is not guaranteed to match the computer-generated "photograph," you will believe your eyes rather than your ears. In any case, seeing a flattering version of yourself may stir your emotions. Remember to keep your expectations in perspective.

Accept the Drawbacks

Anyone who is seriously considering cosmetic surgery must fully appreciate the drawbacks: financial cost, social inconvenience, physical discomfort, and medical risk. Hopefully, you are not one of those people who suppresses the objective side of a decision in favor of the emotional side. It is not your style to play down or overlook potential drawbacks. You never say things like, "I'm not worried about discomfort," or "That complication won't happen to me." That's good, because an unwillingness to accept potential complications (however rare) is a sign that one is not ready for cosmetic surgery.
Article by
Fresno Plastic Surgeon