When some people imagine the field of cosmetic surgery, they imagine only breast augmentations, rhinoplasties, and tummy tucks. However, there are nearly endless specializations within the field of cosmetic surgery. Some doctors work specifically to correct babies born with cleft lips, while other doctors work to reconstruct body parts after traumatic injuries.
Despite the idea that a cosmetic surgeon, also known as a plastic surgeon, is a physician helping A-list celebrities look their best, real-life cosmetic surgeons will admit their typical clientele are rarely if ever the men and women we see on the red carpet. Even in star-studded Los Angeles, only a tiny percentage of a cosmetic surgeon’s patients are celebrities. The bulk of a cosmetic surgeon’s patients consist of relatively unremarkable men and women in search of alterations to their existing physique.
What’s true for all doctors, especially those carrying out cosmetic procedures, is the need for physicians insurance to protect them against accusations of malpractice. It’s especially vital for cosmetic surgeons since they are disproportionately sued by their patients. This is often due to a patient’s unrealistic expectations of the procedure they opted to have done.
Cosmetic surgeons do their best to give their patients helpful information that will allow them to make informed decisions about their procedure. Plastic surgeons guide their patients all the way through the planning stage of their procedure to the follow-up. The doctor must assess the patient to determine what their issue is, and also communicate with them to give a realistic idea of what the steps to correct it will be. Cosmetic surgeons also assess the overall health of the patient, to determine how this will affect their procedure.
Although the duration of a patient’s surgery or cosmetic procedure, might last only a few hours, a cosmetic surgeon will continue to follow up with the patient for up to a year afterward. Follow up appointments typically take place in the days following the procedure, weekly or biweekly for a couple months after that, at the six-month mark, and, finally, at the one year mark. Typically, swelling doesn’t fully subside until around six months after the surgery. The cosmetic surgeon is able to assuage a lot of patient anxiety about the healing process during these follow-up appointments.
Cosmetic surgery is among the highest-paid subset of the surgical field, but this certainly comes at a high cost. After completing four years of undergraduate and four years of medical school, hopeful cosmetic surgeons must then complete five to six years of surgical residency before they can call themselves a fully-fledged surgeon.
Sometimes, reputable cosmetic surgeons who have undergone all this training are working to correct the work of other less reputable cosmetic surgeons, who perhaps have not. Due to cost or accessibility, some patients will seek a lower cost procedure at a steep price — unnatural looking results.
Many cosmetic surgeons find that the gratitude expressed by their patients is the most fulfilling aspect of this job. True, by virtue, plastic surgeons are able to make people look completely different than before, but, more than likely, they are restoring the appearance of their patients to what it had been before a life-changing event such as cancer, the birth of a child, an accident, or simply aging.