Your Top Cosmetic Surgery FAQs


If you are considering plastic surgery, chances are you have many questions. We hope these cosmetic surgery FAQs will help you as you research your options. Please remember any medical care is highly personal and individual, including plastic surgery. 

These FAQs are not a substitute for advice and care from a plastic surgeon. We hope they make it easier for you to make informed decisions and find the right plastic surgeon for your needs.

What is a board-certified plastic surgeon?

The ABPS is one of 24 medical specialty boards that make up the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS). This voluntary certification involves passing a rigorous oral and written examination and completing accredited medical training and a residency. It’s a well-reputed award recognizing the expertise of an experienced surgeon. Several doctors at Charlotte Plastic Surgery are board-certified, and most hold other awards for professional excellence. 

Who is a good candidate for plastic surgery?

Plastic surgery is generally safe; however, as with any elective operation, you need to be healthy enough for the potential benefits to outweigh the risks. As with any surgical procedure, you will need to recover afterward. 

Criteria include people who:

  • Are not smokers or are willing to quit at least a few weeks before the operation
  • Are in good general health without specific medical conditions that may impair healing and recovery
  • Are reasonably close to their healthy weight range since a high BMI may make it difficult to administer the correct amount of anesthetic
  • Have realistic expectations of plastic surgery and the results you can expect
  • Have blood pressure and blood cholesterol levels within a healthy range

Is plastic surgery safe?

Any invasive procedure carries some degree of risk. Your plastic surgeon will ask about your medical history, existing health conditions, and other medications to ensure you don’t have diagnosed pre-existing conditions that may interfere with the safety of the procedure for you as an individual. 

Your doctor may also want to do a physical exam. Other steps you can take to ensure safety include:

  • Follow your doctor’s advice to prepare for surgery, including quitting smoking if you smoke, losing weight, cutting down on drinking, or other advice tailored to your situation
  • Choose a well-qualified, experienced plastic surgeon. Ask your surgeon about their training, experience, areas of expertise, awards, and certifications
  • Ask about the rest of the team, the process, and aftercare

Be sure to let your plastic surgeon know about the following:

  • Your medical history
  • Any current and previous medical conditions
  • Any prior medical procedures and operations
  • Any symptoms you are experiencing

Will I need to plan downtime after my procedure?

Yes, you will want to plan time off for healing and recovery. The exact downtime varies depending on the precise procedure. Some people combine procedures to make the best use of the time they plan to take off work.

You will most likely need to take a couple of weeks off but ask your doctor about the recovery time for your specific procedure. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons offers recommendations to help smooth recovery:

  • Follow any specific guidelines from your plastic surgeon.
  • While you may need to rest and recover, that doesn’t mean you must stay completely sedentary. Talk with your doctor to learn which activities are encouraged. 
  • Don’t smoke or vape or use any tobacco products.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Eat healthy, easy-to-digest foods.
  • Attend any follow-up appointments. 

How should I prepare for plastic surgery?

After your consultation, you may better understand how to prepare for your procedure. Be sure to take enough time off work, exercise, and social engagements to allow for recovery.

Depending on the cosmetic procedure, you may want to wait a few weeks for major social events or to have photographs taken as there may be swelling. Sometimes, the peak results emerge a month or longer after the swelling is gone and the incisions have healed. This varies by the procedure and sometimes by the person since we all heal at different rates. 

You may want to arrange transportation home and pre-stock your refrigerator with easy, wholesome foods like simple soups. Since you will have some downtime, you may also want to update your Netflix queue or Spotify playlist or borrow a best seller from the library, so you have relaxing entertainment to help you pass the time. Set up an environment to rest and heal while avoiding strenuous activity for a few days or weeks.

What are my next steps?

Since plastic surgery is a significant investment and an invasive medical procedure, you will want to be sure it is right for you. Your plastic surgeon will help you navigate these highly personal decisions during a consultation.

During the consultation, your surgeon will want to learn about your medical history, your aesthetic goals, and any other needs or lifestyle factors. Sometimes a patient comes in with a specific procedure in mind, but after learning about the specific hopes and goals, it may become clear that a different procedure may be more likely to provide those desired results. 

Your plastic surgeon will also talk you through the procedure and the kind of results you could realistically expect. You will be able to see before and after photos from patients who are in some way similar. Many plastic surgeons also use sophisticated imaging tools that help you visualize the kind of results you are likely to see.

Whether you are a plastic surgeon neophyte or you have already done extensive research, a consultation is where you start. Charlotte Plastic Surgery has proudly served Charlotte area residents for decades. We bring technical excellence, a proven track record, and a commitment to excellent patient care to each procedure. Contact us today to schedule your consultation.