The Plastic and Cosmetic Laser Surgical Centre – Frequently Asked Questions
Here is a detailed list of frequently asked questions about plastic and cosmetic surgery and surgery recovery. If you have any questions or concerns that are not addressed here, please don’t hesitate to call us.
“What is Plastic Surgery?” Plastic surgery is a surgical specialty dedicated to reconstruction of facial and body defects due to birth disorders, trauma, burns and disease. The art and science of plastic surgery is also involved with the enhancement of the appearance of a person through such operations as facelift, rhinoplasty, breast augmentation and liposuction.
“Why the ‘plastic’ in plastic surgery?” The word “plastic” comes from the Greek word plastikos, meaning “to mold or shape.” Many of the first plastic surgeries were developed to close a difficult wound or replace tissue lost due to injury or cancer. These procedures often involved the formation of a skin flap to reshape or mold the defect so as to approximate the original shape.
“What is the difference between Cosmetic and Reconstructive Surgery?” Cosmetic surgery is performed to reshape normal structures of the body in order to improve the patient’s appearance and self-esteem. Cosmetic surgery is not covered by health insurance because it is elective.
Reconstructive surgery is performed on abnormal structures of the body, caused by congenital defects, developmental abnormalities, trauma, infection, tumors or disease. It is generally performed to improve function, but may also be done to approximate a normal appearance. Reconstructive surgery is generally covered by most health insurance policies, although coverage for specific procedures and levels of coverage may vary greatly.
“What risks are involved with surgery?” Theoretical complications such as bleeding, infection, wound disruption and scarring are all possible side effects of plastic surgery – however, they rarely occur. Your surgeon will discuss all possible risks at your consultation. Risks may vary depending on the patient.
“Is cosmetic surgery safe?”
As with any surgery, there are always risks involved. However, new anaesthetic drugs and monitors combined with healthy patients and qualified surgeons minimize this risk significantly.
“What should I know about the safety of outpatient plastic surgery?” When considering plastic surgery, it is natural to focus more on the expected outcome than the surgical process itself. However, to be fully informed, it is important to learn about the safety of the procedure as well as the expected outcome. Although thousands of people have plastic surgery every year without complications, no surgical procedure is risk-free. To maximize your safety, ensure that:
Your surgeon is adequately trained and is certified by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada
The facility where your surgery will be performed conforms to strict health and safety standards. It is fully accredited by The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta as well as AHS.
Your surgeon takes a complete medical history from you before surgery (identifies medical problems, drugs, etc.)
The surgical facility uses skilled, licensed personnel to administer and monitor your anaesthesia and your recovery immediately following the procedure
“How long will my surgery take?” The doctor’s office staff will give you instructions upon your arrival; your stay will depend on the type of surgery and type of anaesthetic administered. It can be anywhere from 2-5 hours, including your surgery and recovery time.
“Is there pain associated with surgery?” There is always some pain associated with surgery, however, you will be given pain medication following surgery to use in the recovery room and to take home.
“What is the recovery time after surgery?” Recovery times vary according to the type of surgery performed. You will receive verbal and written instructions regarding all your post-operative care. We can also offer recommendations that will make facial surgery less noticeable until healing is complete.
“Will I be able to tolerate the pain post-operatively?” Each patient will tolerate post-operative pain in a different way. While some patients may describe the pain as an ache, others experience greater discomfort. We consider this when prescribing pain medications for post-operative patients. Most facial cosmetic surgery procedures (blepharoplasty, facelift) result in minimal post-operative discomfort. Liposuction is slightly more uncomfortable, and operations that require elevation or tightening of the muscles – such as abdominoplasty or breast augmentation – can result in discomfort equal to that of a C-section.
“How long is the recuperative period and when can I return to work?” The length of time it takes to recuperate following plastic surgery varies depending on the procedure and the patient. Most patients will require assistance for the first two days, but will be able to care for themselves thereafter. Some individuals may still require assistance if they are responsible for small children. See the approximated recovery times based on procedure below.
Blepharoplasty (Eyelid Surgery): Most patients can move around independently by the second day. With the use of sunglasses, they may feel comfortable going to the store by days 3-4, and using makeup and returning to work by days 5-7.
Facelift Surgery: Most patients can move around independently by the second day, but will most likely feel uncomfortable going out in public for 5-7 days. Facelift patients require 10-14 days before returning to work, particularly if they work with the public.
Breast Surgery: Most patients can move around independently by the second day and may return to work by days 5-7 as long as they are not required to lift more than 15 lbs.
Liposuction: Most patients can move around independently by the second day or earlier if a smaller number of areas are treated. Patients can resume work and normal activities within 5-7 days.
Abdominoplasty (Tummy Tuck): Patients may take between 2-4 days before they are able to move around independently. The recovery for abdominoplasty replicates the recovery for a C-section. Patients can return to a desk job within approximately two weeks. More physical jobs will require a longer recovery time.
“When can I resume regular exercise?” The time it will take for a patient to resume regular exercise will vary based on the plastic surgery procedure performed. All patients are encouraged to start a slow walking routine on the second post-operative day. Regular aerobic and more vigorous activities are not allowed during the first two weeks in order to decrease the risk of bleeding, swelling and bruising. In most cases, weight lifting and contact sports are allowed after one month.
“Who is a good candidate for surgery?” A consultation with a plastic surgeon will answer any questions you may have regarding your surgical expectations and whether or not you are a good candidate for that particular procedure.