News | Published May 3, 2012 | Written by Emily Peterson, MD, reconstructive & cosmetic surgery, Mount Nittany Physician Group

How can I be sure I’ll get the look I want through plastic surgery?

Many patients' lives have been improved by a cosmetic enhancement, as evidenced by the 13.8 million Americans who underwent cosmetic plastic surgery procedures in 2011. When first contemplating plastic surgery, it's common to wonder whether or not a procedure will provide the desired appearance.

To help ensure you receive the look you want through plastic surgery, make sure you research the procedure you prefer. Researching your plastic surgeon is just as important; make sure the surgeon is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery.

Once you find a few plastic surgeons that you are interested in, schedule an initial consultation with them. Many patients visit two or more plastic surgeons before choosing one. During the consultation, it is imperative that you have all your questions answered. Discuss your goals and medical history honestly with your plastic surgeon. In addition, bring in pictures to help illustrate the look you want to achieve through plastic surgery. This will allow you and the plastic surgeon to talk openly about possible results.

If you decide to move forward with plastic surgery, make sure you see your primary care physician for an evaluation before scheduling any elective procedure. Also, quit smoking; nicotine compromises healing. Lastly, try to be at your ideal - or at least a stable - weight when you have the surgery performed, because extreme fluctuations in weight can significantly change your results over time.

Once you schedule your appointment, work closely with your surgeon to minimize risks preoperatively, and follow your surgeon's instructions closely. Remember that results also depend on uncontrollable factors such as age, skin quality or pigmentation, and how your body heals a scar. Be aware that complications do arise. It is important to have a good relationship with your surgeon in case you should experience a problem.

To learn more about the types of plastic surgery options offered through Mount Nittany Physician Group, visit If you would like to schedule a consultation to discuss a potential procedure with me, please call 814.231.7878.