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Cosmetic surgery is any surgical procedure that is designed to enhance your physical appearance. Unless the cosmetic surgery is required as the result of an accident, injury, or birth defect, the chances are the procedure will not be covered by your insurance.

Although cosmetic surgery may change your appearance and give you the confidence to face the world with a whole new attitude, it doesn't change who you "really" are inside. If you were lazy and unmotivated before your new nose, you're likely to still be lazy and unmotivated after.

The most common cosmetic surgery procedures are face lifts, liposuction, breast enhancement, "nose jobs" and "tummy tucks" but this is by no means the extent of what a cosmetic surgeon can do for you.

Cosmetic surgery is performed by a doctor who has undergone specialized training in either plastic or cosmetic surgery. When choosing a doctor always make sure that they have been certified by either the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS) or the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery (ABCS). They should have the certification document in plain view in their office.

You'll want to ask the following questions when you are interviewing the doctor:

How often have you done this procedure?

How long have you been doing this procedure?

What are the best and worst case results that I can expect from this procedure?

What are the potential risks or complications of this procedure?

What do I need to do to prepare myself for this procedure?

How much time will I have to lose from work or normal social activity?

How much pain or discomfort is associated with this procedure?

How much will this procedure cost?

Will I require any follow-up treatment and is it included in the price?

Will I require any prescription drugs?

Will my insurance cover all or part of the costs?

Most cosmetic surgery doctors will have a book of "Before and After" pictures that have been taken of patients who have given their permission to be included in the book. Not only should you ask to see the book, but also ask if you can receive a discount by agreeing to have your pictures added.

One of the worst reasons for having a cosmetic surgery procedure performed is because "everyone else is doing it". What may be right for one of your friends may not be right for you. That's why it is important to have a frank discussion with your doctor before having any procedure done. Tell your doctor what your expectations are and then listen very closely to the answer. If you think that having a face lift is going to get you a better job, then you may need to reconsider your thinking. Most people's lives do not change radically after cosmetic surgery is performed.

In fact, there are often unexpected results that accompany cosmetic surgery. You may wonder why someone with as much money as Barbara Streisand has never had her nose "fixed". When she was younger her doctor told her that changing the shape of her nose would alter her voice! That was a risk that Barbara was not willing to take.

Cosmetic surgery should not be rushed into. Take your time, shop around for the best doctor and make sure that you have a solid grasp on your expectations. The chances are you will have to live with the results of the procedure for the rest of your life.

Credit: Mike Jones of BodyFAQ.com, the health, body & beauty information site. Click here for related information on Plastic Surgery: http://www.bodyfaq.com/plastic-surgery.html

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