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          Questions to Ask Yourself Before Plastic Surgery

          September 17, 2004

          From breast implants to Botox to liposuction, millions of people are opting for plastic surgery. Before you take the plunge to alter your appearance, consider the following questions.

          • Do the positive possible medical advantages exceed the possible complications? All medical procedures have serious complications, and you should obtain more than one opinion — preferably three — about the advantages.
          • Have you considered alternative approaches? Have you tried all of the behavioral and alternative approaches available to you (exercise, diet, injections, etc.)? For most issues, there are alternatives that are based on discipline and motivation. If plastic surgery is just an easy way for you to avoid diet and exercise, think again. Also, if you are young, having surgery could be premature because you haven’t finished growing and developing.
          • Do you depend on external sources for your self-esteem? If you are thinking about plastic surgery because of vanity, and you believe your self-esteem rests on the outcome of the surgery, you may not be a good candidate. Surgery might make you feel better for a period of time, but self-esteem has nothing to do with external beauty.
          • What are your expectations? What do you expect in terms of the surgery itself and the recovery period? What do you think will happen if the surgery is a success? What will change in your life?
          • Are your expectations realistic? Will anything really be different in your life after you’ve had surgery? Are you expecting people to be more accepting of you simply because you’ve altered your appearance? Do you believe that surgery will help you gain some form of success that you perceive as unattainable otherwise? Be honest. Will this really make a positive difference in your life?
          • Will surgery help you reach reasonable goals? Are there any feasible goals that surgery could help you attain (such as alleviating back pain with a breast reduction surgery)? If you are expecting plastic surgery to change everything about your personality and/or self-esteem, you could be very disappointed.

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