(BPT) - More Americans are turning to cosmetic surgery to look better, not just younger. But some may be jeopardizing their health by engaging in potentially dangerous behaviors like self-treatment, going abroad for discounted cosmetic surgery, or purchasing injectables off the internet.
In 2015, 64 percent of American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (AAFPRS) members reported an increase in cosmetic surgery or injectable treatments in patients younger than 30. Many were influenced by celebrities; 82 percent of surgeons said celebrities were a major factor in patients’ decisions to have plastic surgery in 2015.
“It’s the age of the ‘selfie’ and celebrities are influencing greater acceptance for cosmetic procedures at any age,” says Dr. Edwin Williams, president of the AAFPRS. “Younger patients may be most prone to making risky decisions to save money and achieve a specific look. It’s important for patients of all ages to keep safety in mind when choosing a cosmetic procedure and a provider, or the procedure they hope will make them look and feel better could end up causing harm.”
AAFPRS members also report that more patients are seeking treatment to revise poorly performed procedures done outside of the U.S. News outlets frequently carry stories of patients who have experienced serious complications, long-term disfigurement—and even death—at the hands of unqualified or unlicensed practitioners.
“The risks are high and the rewards are potentially very low,” Williams says. “Patients cannot properly verify a provider’s credentials or clinic’s safety without visiting in person and doing their research. The standard of care in some overseas facilities do not always comply with the stringent requirements in the U.S. Health insurance may not cover patients having procedures abroad if something goes wrong.”
If you’re considering a cosmetic procedure, invest in seeking out a qualified, trained, and experienced surgeon, the AAFPRS advises. They offer some safety tips for patients of every age:
* Choose a board-certified facial plastic surgeon who specializes in plastic surgery of the face, head and neck. To find a facial plastic surgeon, visit the AAFPRS website. If you decide to go abroad for a procedure, visit the website for the International Federation of Facial Plastic Surgery, which lists member societies of facial plastic surgeons around the world.
* Make sure to avoid having injections of any substance or filler that has not been FDA-approved for cosmetic use. Ask to see the box or label to make sure you are getting the actual treatment you signed up for.
* Prior to undergoing a procedure, meet with the surgeon of your choice, and if possible, at the clinic where the procedure will be done. Make sure you understand the potential risks, complications, recovery and aftercare before making a decision.
The single most important thing you can do to ensure a safe, healthy and successful cosmetic surgery experience is to trust your face to a facial plastic surgeon, the AAFPRS advises. Do your homework before undergoing any medical procedures. You can research surgeons and find more information at www.aafprs.org.