How Does A Person Know if They're Ready for Plastic Surgery?

What are the signs that are ready for undergoing plastic surgery (or not)?

Doctor Answers 11

When to Have Plastic Surgery

When you get right down to it, nobody really needs aesthetic cosmetic surgery.
It is really a matter of whether or not an individual wants aesthetic cosmetic surgery. God makes us all (and all of our parts) in different shapes and sizes, and beauty is not merely in the eyes of the beholder, but also in the eyes of the beheld. That being said, aesthetic cosmetic surgery can have a positive, powerful and lasting impact on a person's life. You may be absolutely certain that you want to have a particular procedure performed, and I am continually amazed at how thoroughly many patients have educated themselves about specific procedures prior to their consultation. Alternately, you may not yet know what possibilities exist for improving a feature that you would like to change. Or you may not be able to pinpoint exactly what feature it is that 'ages' you.
In any case, the only way to truly decide whether or not to "have something done" is to get the best information available from a source with experience and appropriate credentials, whom you trust with your well-being. That information includes a thorough understanding of all options available (both surgical and non-surgical), and it should be provided by someone that understands your aesthetic sensibility and goals. This is what I do my best to provide for every individual that I meet in consultation.
Some people may be ready for plastic surgery but they haven't found the plastic surgeon who makes them feel completely confident . Never jump into plastic surgery until you know you are ready and have done a lot of research.

Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 118 reviews

This is an important decision. You should not feel...

This is an important decision. You should not feel pressured or rushed to make a choice (i.e. you have to book today to get this price).

  • Ask yourself what you are considering changing and why. The more specific you can be about a particular feature that you would like to change the more likely your surgeon will be able to meet your expectations. I will not operate on someone who comes in and asks me: "What would you change about me?" Most ethical surgeons feel the same way. Yes, you need to trust your surgeon but your surgery is not about the surgeon, it is about what you want to achieve. If you do not have a clear goal, it is very unlikely you will get there.
  • If your potential surgeon tells you that your goal is not realistic listen very carefully to that information. It may be true or it may be that the particular surgeon you are seeing is telling you that s/he personally lacks the ability to deliver what you are asking for and you need to see a different surgeon. Don't make a surgeon attempt something the surgeon is not comfortable with. Ask for a referral to another surgeon.
  • Be wary of brand new surgical techniques or treatments. Being on the cutting edge when it comes to cosmetic surgery can be very painful! Just because something is featured on a talk show by a very credible host does not mean the technique is right for you. Doctors get enthusiastic about new techniques. These methods are often promoted before they have been rigorously studied. Not everything new will stand the test of time.
  • CO2 laser resurfacing is a classic example. When it hit the market, it was considered the greatest thing since sliced toast. Now we understand that this technology is best for certain skin types and a certain limited range of issues. Individuals with olive skin or darker can end up hypopigmented (think Casper the ghost!).
  • Thermage is another example of a new technology that looked so promising when it was first marketed. However, the initial versions of this technology were too energetic for some patients and caused problems. The treatment has been modified, and is now much safer and more comfortable. With some cutting edge treatments, it is difficult for doctors to predict who will get a dramatic result and whose treatment will be not so dramatic. How will you feel if you spend thousands of dollars for a treatment for which you can barely tell there’s been a difference?

My best advice is rather than telling your cosmetic surgeon what service you want, tell them what you are looking to accomplish and see what methods they recommend.

Kenneth D. Steinsapir, MD
Beverly Hills Oculoplastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

Start by answering these important questions honestly.

When you are considering having surgery you'll have a lot to think about. After you have researched your doctor and his/her credentials and are certain that he/she is board-certified plastic surgeon, your decision comes down to you and your feelings. Even though the majority of aesthetic surgery patients are pleased with their results, the decision to have a procedure is a big one.

It is normal to have questions, and it's important to answer them honestly. In the end, you want to be completely comfortable with your decision. So, are you clear about your motivations for surgery? Are your expectations realistic? Test yourself by answering these important questions.

(Remember. The more honest you are, the more insight you'll have.)

Am I completely comfortable with my surgeon and the staff in his office?
My surgeon spent time with me, answered my questions and recommended a surgical plan that is designed to achieve my stated goals. The staff is friendly, helpful and supportive. I don't feel like just a number.

Am I choosing to enhance my appearance for me?
I know that others may support me, but no one is pressuring me.

Am I realistic about the results of the surgery?
I understand that cosmetic surgery can improve my appearance, but it cannot change my life.

Do I fully understand and accept the potential risks associated with my procedure?
I know that there are no guarantees and the results of my treatment may be permanent. I have been (or will soon be) given informed consent documents and pre- and post-procedure instructions.

Am I in good shape physically and emotionally?
There are no underlying health disorders or mental health conditions I have not disclosed to my surgeon.

Can I afford this?
I can afford all the costs of surgery, including non-monetary costs such as the time to recover.

Why is now the right time for my surgery, rather than a month or a year ago, or, conversely, a month or a year from now?
The timing fits my schedule. I have not been offered special incentives to schedule surgery and I am not feeling pressured to commit to a plan before I am ready.

Once you've worked through the questions, you may want to talk about them with a trusted friend or family member and certainly with your plastic surgeon. After all, you and your physician will make the final decision about your surgical plan. Realistic expectations will better prepare you for surgery, and prepared patients make the best recovery.

David B. Reath, MD
Knoxville Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 107 reviews

Having plastic surgery is a major decision and is one...

Having plastic surgery is a major decision and is one that should not be taken lightly. You should make sure you’ve thought about having surgery for some time, usually several months or years. You should also be prepared for a recovery period which ranges from a few weeks to a few months, and you may not see the final results until this recovery period is over.

Do not be afraid of having more than one consultation with more than one surgeon if you have any doubts about whether you’re ready or not for surgery.

Taimur Shoaib, MD
Glasgow Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 35 reviews

How do I know if I am ready?

-Motivation- What is your motivation to having a procedure performed? Is it to improve an aspect of your appearance (good reason) or stay youthful (good reasons) or is it to save a marriage (red flag)?

- Know what you want to change- Make sure you have a clear idea what you want to change. Do you want to look more refreshed/ rejuvenated/ change the appearance of your nose/ etc? Going into a plastic surgeon's office and asking, "What do you think I need?" is not likely the best approach.

- Research about the procedure and make sure that what you are looking for can be achieved by surgery

- If you are not 100% committed to the surgery, don't do it. You can always do it later when you are ready. Find out why you have cold feet and whether your cold feet are related to the procedure or the surgeon performing the procedure.

Anil R. Shah, MD
Chicago Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 163 reviews

How Do I know if I'm ready for Plastic Surgery

This is a tough decision for all patients. When you find yourself concerned about your appearance and the consultation with your surgeon indicates you are doing this for your own personal reasons and that you are a good candidate mentally and physically with realistic expectations.that you have taken time to recover and have some supportive network there for you during the recovery process.

In my own life if have found that change occurs when the discomfort of where you are overcomes the fear of where you wan to go.

Larry S. Nichter, MD, MS, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 154 reviews

Self Motivation

You need to feel self-motivated to do the procedure, and have the monetary, emotional maturity, and family/friend support to go through the process.

Kris M. Reddy, MD, FACS
West Palm Beach Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 41 reviews

Reasons for wanting plastic surgery are personal and important

Reasons for wanting to undergo plastic surgery are very personal and important. It all boils down to what you want and why you want it. The clearer you are on what you want and why you want it, the better your surgeon will be able to offer advice and recommendations.

It is beneficial to find a surgeon who is willing to discuss all aspects of the procedures that interest you, in order to empower you to make the best decision for yourself. Deciding to undergo any surgery is not to be taken lightly, and it is important that you are comfortable every step of the way.

I recommend having a consultation with a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon with whom you are comfortable and can discuss your goals. Make sure you and your surgeon are on the same page when coming up with a surgical plan, and see if their aesthetic matches yours. Many surgeons will also allow you to speak with previous patients of theirs, which can be helpful to ensure that you've chosen the right surgeon for yourself.

Scott W. Mosser, MD
San Francisco Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

Plastic surgery is ideal for someone with stable weight,...

Plastic surgery is ideal for someone with stable weight, realistic expectations, and a clear idea of what they would like to improve.

Charles Nduka, MD
London Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

Ask yourself the tough questions. What am I doing this...

Ask yourself the tough questions. What am I doing this for? Will this nose job really save my marriage? etc. etc. Plastic surgery on the right person can have amazing effects on improving self esteem and revitalizing the way one feels about themselves.

But surgery on someone who has underlying personal issues is unlikely to solve their problems and may make them worse off. These people are better off going for counseling and addressing their underlying issues.

Jason B. Diamond, MD, FACS
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
3.7 out of 5 stars 14 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.