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Are You a Good Candidate for Cosmetic Surgery?
15 Questions You Need to Ask Yourself©


Lois W. Stern

According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), nearly 11.7 million cosmetic procedures were performed in the United States last year. Despite its growing popularity, not every person is a good candidate for surgery.  

Here is an update of the self-quiz found in my book, Sex, Lies and Cosmetic Surgery, to help you decide if cosmetic surgery would be right for them. If you are considering any aesthetic surgical procedure(s), be sure to take this self-quiz first and be honest with yourself as you answer these questions. Then, at the end of the quiz, please read my explanations for any questions you answered with a "yes", to help you make the decision that will ultimately be best for you.

1. Do you have a kidney or liver disorder?
_Yes _ No

2. Do you have a bleeding disorder?
_Yes _ No

3. Are you a heavy smoker or drinker?
_Yes _ No

4. Are you considerably overweight?
_Yes _ No

5. Do you scar easily?
_Yes _ No

6. Do you have any other serious medical condition(s) as, for example, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart or lung disease, severe allergies?
_Yes _ No

7. Are you currently under treatment or medication for anxiety or depression?
_Yes _ No

8. Do you have a drug problem?
_Yes _ No

9. Are you in the middle of a life crisis? (i.e. divorce, loss of a spouse, etc.)
_Yes _ No

10. Have you had many different cosmetic surgery procedures at different times during your life?
_Yes _ No

11. Are you generally unhappy with your overall physical appearance?
_Yes _ No

12. Are you preoccupied or obsessed with a part of your face or body that others do not consider unattractive?
_Yes _ No

13. Are you suffering from depression?
_Yes _ No

14. Are you considering cosmetic surgery primarily as a means to improve your social life, resolve marital conflicts or please someone else?
_Yes _ No

15. Can you afford the expense of cosmetic surgery?
_Yes _ No*

No one consciously seeks out cosmetic surgery to worsen herself physically or psychologically, but this situation occasionally does occur. If you have answered "yes" to any of these 15 questions, please consult with your physician and/or a mental health specialist before you make this important decision for yourself. Remember, cosmetic surgery is elective surgery. Your overall physical and mental health come first.

Explanations for numbered questions listed above:
1, 2, 6. If you have a serious medical condition– Cosmetic surgery, like most elective procedures, is best suited for healthy people. Many surgeons require that every one of their patients first undergo a complete physical with their internist or family practitioner to receive clearance prior to surgery. (Even if a complete physical is not required, it is in your best interest to do so.) If you have any one or more of the following health issues, diagnosed or undetected, plastic surgery may not be advisable: Diabetes, Hypertension (High blood pressure), Bleeding Disorder, Heart Disease, Severe Allergies, Lung Disease, Kidney or Liver Disease  

3, 4, 8. If you have specific health habits that can complicate either the anesthesia or the surgical outcome- If you are a smoker, regularly consume more than a very moderate amount of alcohol, use illicit drugs, or are seriously overweight, you need to discuss these conditions openly with your surgeon, so that you understand the additional risks, if any, they might impose on your body.  

5. If you scar easily - Go to two or more reputable plastic surgeons for consultation(s). Show them evidence of previous scarring. Ask where they would place your incisions for the type surgery you are considering. How visible would these scars be? Consider the trade off. Will you be happier with the new you, even with possible scars, in those suggested areas?    

7, 9, or 13. If you are depressed or in some type of crisis– If you are currently in the process of divorce, mourning the death of a loved one, or suffering another crisis at this time, you might be seeking solutions that cannot be answered by changing your personal appearance. It is best to seek out the support of a mental health specialist to determine if plastic surgery is the best solution for you at this time. People who undergo cosmetic surgery primarily to resolve emotional issues are often disappointed when cosmetic surgery does not resolve their problems, leading to further depression.  

10, 11, 12. If you are addicted to plastic surgery- Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) is a growing concern in our society, fueled in part by media hype promoting heightening expectation for beauty.  People suffering from BDD believe they have severe appearance flaws, yet these perceived flaws can't be surgically fixed as they exist primarily in the mind of the individual.  

14. If you want to please someone else- Plastic surgery should be something you want to do for yourself, not for anyone else. Remember that changes made to your physical appearance following cosmetic surgery are more or less permanent. The best candidates for cosmetic surgery with the most successful outcomes are those with realistic expectations to improve a particular aspect of their physical appearance, not to satisfy someone else. (Realistic means that you shouldn't expect to emerge from surgery looking like Angelina Jolie.) Plastic surgeons need to have artistic vision, but they are not magicians!  

15. If you have financial problems– You should know that most cosmetic surgery, unless health related, is not covered by health insurance. (i.e. breast reductions are often considered health related and covered by insurance, if medically documented by back or shoulder pain or severe rashes as a result of enlarged breasts.) It is generally unwise to make purchases beyond what you can afford to pay for, including elective surgery. Debt often causes additional stress to our lives. Before you purchase, be comfortable with your ability to pay!
Stayed tuned for later in the week when I post my article on some of the myths and realities (including possible complications) to cosmetic surgery.

Have a safe and beautiful life.

Lois W. Stern

Interested in learning more? Lois also publishes a FREE monthly Health and Beauty e-Newsletter. For more info. visit: [Link Removed] Patty and I enjoy hearing from our readers and will actually respond!

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Member Comments

    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Mechanicalheart wrote Jul 10, 2008
    • Cosmetic surgery has evolved into a self-propagating money making machine. Suppose a person undergoes this procedure and becomes beutiful. The aspiring mates will marry in hope of beautiful children. But cosmetic surgery cannot change the genes.
      I have a friend (male) who had a nose job a few years ago who met his wife and had twins. He never told his wife about the nose job and both babies (now 3 years old) came out with his huge original nose. The wife was so upset.
      These people look simply ridiculous: [Link Removed]

      Mechanicalheart, Your links have been removed, please consider upgrading to premium membership.

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