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Can I Get Plastic Surgery and Still Look Natural?

There’s one dilemma nearly every plastic surgery patient faces: The desire to look better without ending up looking like a different person. If you examine this idea more closely, however, you’ll soon see that the anxiety behind it is usually unfounded. While plastic surgery procedures were associated with somewhat obvious-looking results many years ago, the art of plastic surgery has come a long way in recent decades. Indeed, surgical procedures have improved across the board; many once highly-invasive medical surgeries can now be performed much more deftly.

Debunking the “I Won’t Look Like Me!” Myth

The intent behind plastic surgery is never to make the patient look unlike himself or herself (unless that is what the patient specifically desires, of course). Instead, plastic surgeons attempt to make the patient look more like himself or herself. Think of it this way: When the “you” you once knew begins to become obscured by the visible signs of aging, a plastic surgeon can reverse some of these effects. Rather than looking like “someone else,” you’ll end up looking close to how you used to look. Yes, it’s true that facelift surgery used to be associated with less than natural-looking results, but since the advent of SMAS (a facelift technique involving the perficial muscular aponeurotic system) and deep plane facelift techniques, this is no longer the case. A skilled, experienced board-certified plastic surgeon can now work with the underlying musculature of your face, repositioning it so that it sits where it used to. Ergo, no one will even know you had work done (unless you tell them).

Likewise, people often turn to plastic surgery to get rid of a “problem feature” that is distracting from the rest of their face. This is the motive that drives many people to seek rhinoplasty, for example. They grow weary of having a bump on the end of their nose (or a pronounced nasal hump) because it’s the first thing other people see—and it’s the only thing the camera seems to focus on. Patients don’t have these issues corrected because they want to look like “someone else.” They have them corrected so that their natural features—their beautiful eyes, distinct cheekbones, and so on—have a chance to get noticed.

Finally, it’s important to remember that plastic surgeons do more than correct aesthetic issues. They reconstruct damaged areas of the face and body, too. Many plastic surgeons have experience performing breast reconstruction surgery, for example, and some work with accident victims to restore areas of the face and body that have been burned or scarred. Obviously, these practitioners are well versed in the art of making people look “natural.” It is their job—and their passion—to help patients return to their pre-trauma selves.

If you’re interested in getting plastic surgery for cosmetic reasons, there are a few ways you can increase your odds of achieving a natural looking result, as discussed below:

Work with What You’ve Got

Good plastic surgery works in harmony with the patient’s existing features. A woman should not, for instance, ask for very large breast implants if she’s naturally small-breasted and petite. And so on. For best results, make sure the procedure (or procedures) you’re getting complement your existing appearance rather than overwhelming it.

Balance Surgical Procedures with Non-invasive Treatments

While nonsurgical treatments (like Botox®, Juvederm, Restylane, etc.) cannot replace plastic surgery, they do work very well with it. Because these non-invasive procedures produce more subtle alterations than surgery, they can enhance the results of plastic surgery without the patient risking looking “worked on.” Additionally, many of these treatments are made of natural compounds that work with the body’s healing response (i.e., they prompt the body to produce the skin-firming substances known as collagen and elastin). This means that they create a pleasing but harmonious change in the patient’s appearance.

Listen to Your Surgeon’s Advice (or Get a Second Opinion)

Board certified plastic surgeons are very highly trained. They are therefore adept at assessing each individual patient and figuring out what procedures are right for him or her (and how to implement said procedures in a flattering way). Many people who end up with less than satisfactory plastic surgery outcomes: a) didn’t take the time to verify their chosen surgeon’s experience and credentials, or b) insisted on, for example, getting larger breast implants than the surgeon recommended or having a second facelift too soon after their first.

This is not to suggest that you shouldn’t voice your own opinion during your consultation, of course. A good plastic surgeon will always listen to your concerns. Just know that it’s recommended to get a second opinion and think carefully before jumping to conclusions. Ideally, in order to ensure beautiful results, you and your surgeon should collaborate on a personalized treatment plan that enhances your best assets. Plastic surgery should never be an impulsive undertaking.

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