Everything you always wanted to know about plastic surgery…
by Joan Kron
Anyone who’s seen a couple of episodes of Days of Our Lives knows the basics. A nose job can take a hump off the old honker; a face lift can pick up sagging jowls; an eye lift can deflate those pouches and tighten crows feet. But how much does each procedure hurt? Where do you ooze? Where do you bruise? Where are the scars? How soon can you go back to work? Will people be able to tell you’ve had surgery? Will you look fresh or will you look flash-frozen? And, most important, what’s safe?
Some of the country’s best doctors and experts have answered the most-asked questions – the who, what, where, when and why of nip and tuck. Forget daytime drama. Think of this, instead, as eyewitness news.
How painful is plastic surgery?
It’s surgery. It aches, stings, burns, throbs – but it doesn’t have to feel like natural childbirth. Doctors usually prescribe a two-week supply of pain medication (Percocet or Tylenol with codeine) after surgery. Many women, especially face lift patients, switch to plain Extra-Strength Tylenol. (They should avoid aspirin, which promotes bleeding.) Usually, there is little or no pain the first day, because of the long-lasting anesthetics sprayed in the wounds during surgery. (Tummy tucks and breast implants can be very painful from the onset and can throb even after two weeks.) For most operations, the second and third days are the worst. In general, you should allow two weeks to recover and rest after any procedure that requires anesthetic. Overachievers who don’t have the time to recuperate shouldn’t get surgery.
Is a laser eye lift better than a regular eye lift?
Surgeons have been using scalpels to lift the eyes for almost 100 years. But now the carbon dioxide laser (which resurfaces wrinkled, sagging, unevenly shaded, and acne-scarred skin) can also be used as a cutting instrument – merely by changing its tip and readjusting the wavelength. Making incisions with a laser in the lower eyelid is controversial, however. The benefits are said to be slightly faster healing – one week as opposed to 10 to 12 days – and less bleeding (the laser seals blood vessels as it cuts). John E.Sherman, a New York plastic surgeon, believes that the laser eye lift is best for “a younger patient, looking for quick results.” Down the road, though, the effect of each lift is the same.