Summary: As with any medical procedure, cosmetic surgery carries with it inherent risks. The human body is a complex entity, and there’s always the chance, however slight, that something could go wrong. However, cosmetic surgeons are under a unique pressure to ensure that their procedures are as safe as possible, and if recent research is any indication, this has been a largely successful initiative. Cosmetic procedures seem to be safer than ever before. This is especially true if you select a highly qualified cosmetic surgeon as your doctor of choice. If you don’t have such a cosmetic surgeon yet, don’t worry—there are ample ways to find one.

Low Risk, Big Reward

Surgery is an inherently complex enterprise. As with any medical practice, there are simply many variables to juggle when it comes to the human body and the way our physiology responds to various traumas. Because aesthetic plastic surgery is often elective, there is even more pressure on those procedures to be safe—it would be shame for something bad to happen during an optional procedure, much more so than during a life-saving procedure. At least, that’s the perception. Therefore, cosmetic surgeons have worked very hard to provide low-risk, high-reward procedures so that patients still get excellent results.

According to some new research, this strategy is succeeding. Published recently in JAMA Dermatology, researchers at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University, Chicago—Murad Alam, M.D., M.S.C.I leading—studied well over 20,000 procedures performed and found that only a very small fraction of them had any complication. In fact, according to the study, which focused on procedures performed by well-qualified cosmetic surgeons, adverse events came in at under 1%. That means that these procedures, in terms of safety, have an over 99% success rate.

Qualifications Are Important

It’s important to note, then, that the study focused on those well-qualified cosmetic surgeons. Choosing a cosmetic surgeon for your procedure, be it Botox in New York or Voluma Los Angeles provides. A skilled hand can create excellent results, but an unskilled hand can lead to a series of complications and—at the least—unflattering results. So choosing a well qualified, highly reviewed cosmetic surgeon is a key step in getting optimal results.

So, in a word, yes, cosmetic surgery is safe (certainly safer than, say, driving your car). But that does not mean you should throw caution to the wind. Just as you would want a well-qualified pilot on an airplane, you want an experienced cosmetic surgeon to handle your needs. Luckily, there are several ways you can check up on a cosmetic surgeon before heading into the office for your initial meeting.

Check Up on Your Doc

Real Self is a social media site for plastic surgery. As such, it’s a wonderful resource for anyone and everyone interested in cosmetic procedures. It’s also a great site to check up on potential doctors, as reviews are intensely monitored to ensure that there is no outside influence. Many doctors are also quite actively engaged in the community, so you can ask questions (or look at questions already posed by other users) and gage the responses of whatever set of doctors you may be considering for your procedure.

Health Grades and Yelp are both also sites in which objectivity is key. Yelp is, unfortunately, slightly less reliable, as many businesses have found a way around strict rules about paying to post reviews (though, most are reliable). Health Grades is a review site dedicated to the medical profession, so it’s more likely your cosmetic surgeon will appear there if he also practices reconstructive techniques.

Rely on a Trusted Friend

You will also want to rely on word of mouth, of course. Check in with friends on Facebook and see who has had good experiences and bad experiences. Word of mouth is one of the most reliable forms of reviews out there, if only because you know exactly who the information is coming from, and, thus, it can often be more trustworthy (or, at least, you know why it’s not as trustworthy).

Keep in mind that people review cosmetic surgeons on many more criteria than simple safety, as well they should. Patients consider the results, the bedside manner, the quality of care, and overall compassion in deciding on the review to give various cosmetic surgeons. This in and of itself kind of proves just how safe the cosmetic surgery industry is: no one is worried about safety, necessarily—they’re more worried about results.

Safe Procedures with Great Results

And cosmetic surgery does offer a wide variety of procedures and results. Voluma offers you the chance to fill your cheeks and look a bit more radiant. Nonsurgical rhinoplasty offers you the ability to alter your nose without the lengthy recovery (and pain) required by surgery). Botox treatments offer you the ability to eliminate wrinkles and gain a more youthful looking appearance. What’s more is that cosmetic surgeons are offering ever more innovative techniques and procedures every year. Because with a safety rate of over 99%, it’s little wonder why, when possible, many patients prefer to take the route of cosmetic procedures over intense aesthetic plastic surgery.

The best part is that you can rest assured that your procedure will be safe and that your results will be in the arena of what you’re looking for. Cosmetic surgery offers great results in a safe environment, but only if you find a highly qualified cosmetic surgeon to work with. Once you find that surgeon, you’re good to go.

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