Long Term Effects of Cosmetic Surgery

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In addition to the normal risks associated with surgery, including problems with anesthesia, infection and doctor error, there are some physical and psychological long-term effects associated with cosmetic surgery. One of the biggest threats to maintaining the efficacy of a cosmetic procedure is time. Most cosmetic procedures that involve the skin, such as face lifts, eye lifts and liposuction begin to lose their value after about 10 years. Additional surgeries are most often required to maintain a cosmetic procedure as the patient ages.

Lifestyle

  • While time and aging affect a face lift or tummy tuck eventually, other lifestyle factors can cause more immediate negative results. Smoking will offset many of the benefits of a cosmetic procedure. Direct exposure to nicotine can adversely affect the benefits created by periodontal cosmetic surgery by increasing the chance of gum disease and receding gums. Smoking in general impacts the body's healing process and full nerve restoration is sometimes never achieved in cosmetic surgery patients who smoke. Poor diet and lack of sleep will shape the long-term effect of cosmetic surgery.

Psychological Effects

  • When patients go into a cosmetic procedure with realistic expectations, they typically have favorable psychological after effects, say researchers at the American Psychological Association. Patients who expect the surgery to bring dramatic results in their love life or who expect an instant self-esteem boost, may undergo periods of depression or anxiety. Those with a history of neurosis are more prone to negative psychological reactions following a cosmetic procedure. Dissatisfied patients may return for more surgery or become self-destructive. While little research has been performed on the long-term effects of cosmetic surgery on the psyche, studies are being performed that include training for cosmetic surgery providers on how to counsel patients prior to surgery.

Scars

  • Most cosmetic surgeons take great pains to hide and minimize the scars left from invasive procedures. The initial swelling and dark scars following cosmetic surgery typically fade within the first couple months. Follow the doctor's recommendations when caring for the incision to avoid developing a big scar. Avoid heavy lifting or other strenuous activity for the first few months to allow the incision to heal properly and almost disappear in the hairline or bathing suit line.

Marks

  • Burst blood vessels are an uncommon but possible side effect from plastic surgery that can become permanent. They usually appear around the site of the surgery, on the nose or around the site of the incision. Though small, the small red dots often are permanent.

Breast Implants

  • Ongoing research continues in an effort to find out the long-term effects of breast implants and the various methods by which they are performed. After years of testing and research, the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) finally approved the use of silicone gel implants in 2006. The long-term effects continue to be studied. Common side effects of improper implantation or from continued use include continual pain and sensitivity, leakage and patient dissatisfaction with how their breasts looked following the procedure. Read the FDA tips on long-term effects of breast implants to become fully informed of the risks prior to surgery.

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