Do your homework before getting cosmetic surgery done

By ERIN ELLIS, Vancouver SunMay 8, 2012
Cosmetic surgery — along with its popular sidekicks, the syringe and laser — are really getting in our faces today.

It’s the subject of caterpillar-into-butterfly reality television or gruesome  news items on botched jobs.

Looking at the most popular procedures in Vancouver, compiled by talking to  local clinics and comparing that to U.S. data (similar stats are not available  in Canada) consumers are faced with choosing the right doctor for surgery or  making sure they have a qualified technician for others.

That’s because a dentist can offer a facelift, Botox need only be injected  under a doctor’s supervision and the laser hair removal industry is wide  open.

More than 2,000 plastic surgeons from around the world are now at the  Vancouver Convention and Exhibition Centre for the annual meeting of the  American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery which ends Tuesday.

Vancouver’s Dr. Benjamin Gelfant, who has practised here for 23 years and is  the owner of the Broadway Cosmetic Plastic Surgery Centre, says reducing risk is  a key focus for his colleagues.

“The most important thrust has been safety, safety, safety … Plastic  surgeons have been very concerned about not having disasters that besmirch the  feelings of the general population. We have a tremendous emphasis on quality  care and on prevention of major complications.”

The 2007 death of a 32-year-old Toronto woman who had liposuction by a doctor  who was not a qualified surgeon reminded Canadians that when it comes to  cosmetic procedures it’s buyer beware. B.C., however, has the strictest rules in  the country for “major, invasive” cosmetic surgery.

Perhaps because of its popularization — and cute names such as “tummy tuck” and “mommy makeover” for serious operations conducted under general anesthetic — the B.C. College of Physicians and Surgeons has prepared a checklist for people  considering cosmetic treatments and Health Canada also offers advice.

Angie Kozina, director of 8 West Cosmetic Surgery, says there is a growing  demand among Asian patients for both eyelid surgery and implants to make their  noses more prominent, which her clinic has turned into specialties.

Regional tastes also affect the industry, notes dermatologist and University  of B.C. instructor Dr. Shannon Humphrey. She says she’s seeing growth in  non-surgical treatments, a combination of risk-aversion and individual concepts  of beauty.

“I’m quite happy to be a cosmetic dermatologist in West Coast Canada because  95 per cent of the patients that I see want a natural look.”

Most popular non-surgical cosmetic procedures in Vancouver:

WHAT: Botulinum Toxin type A. Brand names: Botox, Xeomin.

WHAT IT DOES: Paralyzes muscles under the skin, most commonly used to  prevent frown lines, crow’s feet and keep foreheads smooth.

WHO CAN DO IT: Injected by a doctor or someone under the direction of  a doctor.


EFFECTIVENESS: Three to four months.

RISKS: Pain and bruising at injection site. Can lead to drooping  eyelids if injected improperly. Some reports of allergic reactions.

COST: $300 to more than $1,000 per session depending on amount  injected.

WHAT: Temporary fillers using hyaluronic acid. Brand names: Juvederm,  Restylane.

WHAT IT DOES: Plumps out lips, creases and wrinkles.

WHO CAN DO IT: Injected by a doctor or under the direction of a  doctor.

HEALING TIME: Pain, bruising, redness and swelling in the injection  area for up to two days.

EFFECTIVENESS: Lasts four months to a year.

RISKS: Few risks because the results fade with time. Permanent fillers  are also on the market but are less popular because surgery may be required if  the microparticles injected are improperly placed.

COST: Starting from $200 to more than $2,000 per session depending on  amount injected.

WHAT: Laser hair removal.

WHAT IT DOES: Permanently stops hair growth by destroying individual  roots with a laser.

WHO CAN DO IT: A trained technician.

HEALING TIME: Redness and sensitivity in treated area for a day or  two.

EFFECTIVENESS: Works best on fair skinned people with dark hair.  Thirty to 80 per cent chance of working the first time. Several sessions  required over a year as hair regrows at different times and the hair follicle  may not be destroyed the first time.

RISKS: Pain during treatment. Burns and scarring in the hands of  poorly trained technicians.

COST: Priced per session, per body part. The number of sessions it  takes to get rid of all hair varies. For example, one 90-minute session on a  man’s back will cost from about $450 to $700, but two to four sessions may be  needed. A single half-hour session on a bikini line will run around $200.

Surgical procedures:

WHAT: Breast augmentation.

WHAT IT DOES: Silicon pouches filled with saline solution or silicon  gel are surgically implanted under the skin or chest muscles to create larger or  more symmetrical breasts

WHO CAN DO IT: Plastic surgeon.

HEALING TIME: Two weeks off work with no lifting and only light  activity, six weeks before resuming strenuous activities.

EFFECTIVENESS: Health Canada says implants are not a lifelong medical  device and may have to be surgically removed at a later date.

RISKS: Reaction to anesthetic, pain, infection, misshapen breasts,  leakage from implants, further surgery.

COST: $7,500 to $8,600.

WHAT: Abdominoplasty (tummy tuck)

WHAT IT DOES: Excess skin is cut away to tighten lower stomach area,  usually after childbirth or weight loss. Depending on the type of operation, it  could include liposuction and tightening of the underlying muscles using  sutures.

WHO CAN DO IT: Plastic surgeon.

HEALING TIME: At least overnight in the clinic, two to three weeks off  work, four weeks before resuming strenuous activities.

EFFECTIVENESS: A successful operation generally flattens the lower  stomach area as long as the patient doesn’t gain a lot of weight. Scars from the  operation are hidden by underwear.

RISKS: Reaction to anesthetic, pain, infection, numbness, embolism  (blocked blood vessel), death.

COST: $10,000 to $13,000.

2 Responses to “Do your homework before getting cosmetic surgery done”

  1. Tina Says:

    Awesome post! The “What” sections are a bit hard to read though, might want to make them stand out more. I was interested in the Juvederm treatment prices, since I’ve had mine done a month ago and paid about $400. I went to since it’s pretty close to where I live.

    There’s great info here, thanks very much. I want to go in for a few laser hair removal sessions and was looking for info on the procedure…and I found it 🙂

  2. Breast enlargement orange county Says:

    Primary thing that one should consider before going for plastic surgery of any kind is to find genuine plastic surgeon. There are many doctors who are offering cheap surgery but that don’t make them genuine degree plastic surgeon so here you must need to research alot to find doctor that have experienced to do right surgery for you so that you can have appearance you dream of

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