Recent data has revealed that cosmetic and reconstructive plastic surgery are on the rise. According to a study released by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, nearly 18 million people invested in cosmetic procedures last year in the United States—a quarter of a million more than in the previous year. Furthermore, cosmetic surgical procedures have been on the rise for the past five years. This is a trend that doesn’t seem to be slowing down, and it’s important to understand why.
Dr. Ali Sadeghi is a double board-certified surgeon specializing in cosmetic plastic surgery and reconstructive surgery in New Orleans. Currently, he practices in his Metairie office as the founder and medical director of the Sadeghi Center for Plastic Surgery. For Dr. Sadeghi, the most important part of his craft is educating and helping patients with long-term solutions to cosmetic needs and wants.
“When prospective patients come into the New Orleans-based center for a consultation, I explain all the reconstruction options in detail, helping the individual customize their treatment plan to best fit their needs,” says Dr. Sadeghi.
Cosmetic Surgery vs. Reconstructive Surgery
Although similar, it’s important to understand the difference between cosmetic and reconstructive plastic surgery. Cosmetic surgery refers to the alteration of the normal parts of the human body. Because these types of procedures are often optional, they most likely will not be covered by health insurance. Examples of cosmetic surgery include breast lifts or liposuction.
Reconstructive surgery, on the other hand, aims to fix the appearance of abnormal parts of the body. These abnormalities can be caused by infections, diseases, trauma/accidents, or developmental complications. Depending on the procedure, many health insurance policies cover reconstructive surgeries. An example of reconstructive surgery is breast reconstruction, which many women opt for after undergoing a mastectomy following breast cancer.
Reconstructive surgery is also used to correct webbed toes and feet—a malformation of the limbs called syndactyly. Both cosmetic surgery and reconstructive surgery fall under the plastic surgery umbrella.
Expectations are also another area that every patient has to manage. Although “perfection” is subjective, many patients seek surgery to fix physical appearances in hopes that it will boost their confidence. The best plastic surgeons help their patients manage those expectations by being transparent and honest about what can and cannot be done, and what will lead to the best possible results.
For example, a patient with unrealistic hopes for a drastic transformation may not be aware of the health complications that can be associated with their wildest cosmetic dreams—this is where an experienced doctor steps in. A knowledgeable purveyor of these procedures wants what’s best for everyone who steps through the doors.
“I believe patients should not feel pressured to change their appearance to satisfy societal expectations but rather to do what they truly want, enhancing their self-image and boost their self-confidence,” says Dr. Sadeghi. “I work with each patient to determine which procedure will give them the results that they want and desire.”
The primary purpose for cosmetic and reconstructive surgery is to allow you to look better, live healthier, and gain confidence in your appearance. However, there are a handful of questionable motives for cosmetic surgery, too, and it’s important to ask yourself what your own motive is before you inquire about cosmetic surgery. For example, if you’re seeking cosmetic surgery to appear more attractive to someone else, to look like someone else, to get a job, etc., you should rethink your approach.
Choosing the right cosmetic surgeon is no easy task. In any given geographical area, you can find dozens of surgeons in close proximity to one another. Like many other investments and commitments, the plastic surgeon you choose will have an impact on the rest of your life, and as such, it’s a decision no one should take lightly.
Having a local plastic surgeon is beneficial for multiple reasons. For starters, they are more readily available. While this may seem like a simple pro, having someone you can visit multiple times and call when you have concerns pre and post-surgery is pivotal.
Over the years, many prospective patients have opted for overseas surgeons to help curb costs, but there are serious risks associated with medical tourism. In fact, heading overseas can cost substantially more if you become infected (not an uncommon side effect in low-priced foreign medical offices) or need additional fixes following an unsatisfactory procedure.
In a study called “Population health implications of medical tourism,” data analyzed exactly how cost-effective overseas procedures were. The conclusion: “Complications from patients seeking aesthetic procedures abroad will continue to increase. Patients should be encouraged to undergo cosmetic surgery in the United States to improve patient outcomes and satisfaction and because it is economically advantageous.” They found that average cost to fix complications was around $18,000.
Furthermore, many seek outside treatment because they don’t do their due diligence in researching the exact costs of procedures of speaking directly to their potential surgeons. Because of this, local plastic surgery is an attractive option. Some procedures end up costing less than you think and includes the cost of post-surgery care—an added benefit that would be difficult to take advantage of outside of your area.
Local surgeons like Dr. Ali Sadeghi are also committed to their region and the patients they serve in the area. Dr. Sadeghi received world-class surgical training directly from the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center and has chosen to keep Louisiana as his homebase.
Boost in Confidence & Morale
A successful surgery can work wonders on improving your overall confidence, self-image, and morale. Self-esteem has long been directly linked a person’s physical appearance. And when self-esteem is high, so too are other areas of an individual’s life. Research published by the Clinical Psychological Science journal found that patients who underwent plastic surgery enjoyed a higher sense of satisfaction, had less anxiety and more joy, and greater self-esteem.
“Like anyone else who has gone through a trial like this, I have had body image issues while healing,” said Merchelle, a patient of Dr. Sadeghi who underwent reconstructive breast surgery after a double mastectomy. “I wondered how I could ever look ‘normal’ again or even feel whole. Dr. Sadeghi was caring and supportive. The fact that I was sent to him was a blessing. He was reassuring and confident. He shows great dedication to his patients and his work is nothing short of miraculous”.