“A thing of beauty is a joy forever!” professed Keats in his very famous poem Endymion. He then goes on to declare, “Its loveliness increases. It will never pass into nothingness!”But how far is that possible when one is up against the inevitable demons of ageing, sun exposure, stress, physiological changes in body like pregnancy and hormonal changes that keep waxing and waning like the moon! And not to forget the most cruel aide of these demons – the gravity of Newton!

The reason why beauty has been given high importance, is not vanity as perceived by many but because it reflects good health and gives better prospect of having healthier progeny, aptly sumarised in Darwin’s theory of Natural selection as “survival of the fittest”. From Cleopatra to Indian queen Padmavati, the most beautiful women of the world religiously followed their secretly guarded beauty regimens. And it was not just the royalty that strived to look good, common folk too had their own parameters and regimens of attaining and preserving beauty.
And wait it was not just women….
Handsome men with their own secret beauty regimes have strived to look their best too. Small waists, luscious flowing locks, chiselled cheeks and full lips were the beauty parameters of men in those times!The pursuit for youth led the ancient civilizations to search for the “Fountain of youth” that finds mention in accounts of Herodotus and the popular writings titled Alexander’s romance. Though the “fountain of youth” is yet to be located, it is now possible to address many of the signs of ageing and restore youthful appearance to quite an extent by nonsurgical and to a great extent by surgical procedures, falling under umbrella of “Cosmetic Surgery”.

So here we go as to what makes an individual suitable for cosmetic surgery.

1) Motivation: Like in any other aspect of life, the most important criteria for anyone seeking cosmetic surgery is motivation. An individual who is motivated to look his/her best is the ideal candidate for cosmetic surgery. Though motivation is significant for other surgeries too, it assumes a special significance in cosmetic surgery as most individuals seeking the same do not have any disease per se. Their main goal is to seek improvement in their appearance. So just like you are motivated to follow your fitness regime of gymnasium or yoga or pilatesetc, you should be motivated enough to improve your appearance to seek cosmetic surgeries. Always remember that when a cosmetic surgeon speaks of motivation, she/he specifically means self motivation. Cosmetic surgeries done due to pressure or constant nudging by your spouse/partner,  parents or peers usually leads to lesser satisfaction, than when one is self motivated. Remember that cosmetic surgeries improve your appearance but do little or nothing to improve a failing relationship, chances of promotion or other such things. Be honest in communicating your motivation behind soliciting a cosmetic surgery.

2) Clarity: Another important criteria is being able to point out what exactly are you looking for. A person who comes to a cosmetic surgeon for consultation stating that he/ she does not like that his nose is too pointed or broad or high is definitely going to be more satisfied with his/her results as compared to another individual who says that “I don’t like my nose. Do whatever you think can make it good.” So before scheduling your appointment, be clear as to what exactly are you looking for!

3) Realistic expectations: The significance of realistic expectations cannot be overemphasised. It would help you to understand that your surgeon can improve your appearance to a great extent but it is difficult to be able to make someone into a George Clooney, a Brad Pitt or a David Beckham! Remember that you are unique and God has created you special. Celebrate that uniqueness and visit your cosmetic surgeon with the idea that he/ she would be able to help your unique self improve, but not with the hope of transformation into someone else. That does happen…..but perhaps only in movies! It would also help to understand that your cosmetic surgeon strives best to give you the most inconspicuous scars but there cannot be a surgery which doesn’t leave any scar!

4) Willingness for Follow ups: Willingness for follow-ups is highly appreciated, as it shows your keenness to aid your surgeon to give you the best results. Your surgeon wants to see you at regular intervals to be able to see how your body has responded to a surgery and if there is any need for further refinements. The main aim of these follow ups is to be able to look for any scar issues (which vary from one person to another) and to see if something more needs to be done to enhance your results. Your having faith in your surgeon and working as a team with your surgeon and her/his staff would ensure better results than if you do not follow up.

5) Costly or costeffective?: A common query encountered by surgeons is why is the cost of cosmetic surgeries higher than other surgeries. Remember that cosmetic surgery is the most highly refined form of art where the canvas is a live human body, not a stone or a cotton canvas where if some mistake happens, the sculptor or the painter can start allover again! The finesse required in  executing cosmetic surgeries is very high. Your cosmetic surgeons undergo a rigorous training that lasts for nearly 13 years from the time they start their medical training. After the exhaustive training they do multiple fellowships to achieve more expertise and finesse to deliver the best possible results to you. A lot of time goes in planning and bringing out the details, to be able to satisfy the requirements of cosmetic surgery patients. And there is hardly any room for errors!! Hence the cost of these procedures may be higher than other procedures that your plastic surgeon does. But if you consider the outcome and the confidence and self-esteem boost that these surgeries foster in you, you will realise that these procedures in long term are cost-effective and not costly!

6) Understanding the variation in surgeons’ fees: A frequent question of why different cosmetic surgeons have different professional fees needs elaboration here. Cosmetic surgery is more of an art than a science. Just like a Picasso’s or a Raja Ravi Verma’s or a MF Hussain’s painting would cost differently, similarly the cost of surgeries by different cosmetic surgeons can vary depending upon their expertise, experience and time dedicated to you. This doesn’t mean that a cosmetic surgeon who is charging lesser than others is not doing a good job. It simply means that just like any other form of art, this form of art has more variations in costs as compared to reconstructive plastic surgeries or surgeries for congenital deformities where the variation in professional fees of surgeons may not be as marked as in cosmetic surgeries. Remember that every artist is different, so is his art and so is the cost of the art!

Its worth reminiscing that most of your expectations like hair transplants, forehead lifts/ browlifts/ facelifts/ blepharoplasty, rhinoplasty, jawline creation, breast enhancement/ lifts/ reductions, liposuctions, abdominoplasties, body contouring, butt enhancements, non surgical rejuvenations and those “to die for” dimples and “six pack abs” can be satisfactorily be met by your cosmetic surgeon with your realistic participation.There hardly exists a doubt thatmankind’s quest for youth and beauty has existed since times immemorial and it’s an open secret that it will continue to be in vogue till eternity! As much as we cannot make you Zeus or Venus, we certainly can help you look the best version of yourself.

So if you are in quest for youth and beauty and understand the value of art, it’s the time for you to take the plunge and schedule your appointment with your IAAPS certified cosmetic surgeon!!

What are you waiting for?!!

Dr. Neha Chauhan

Consultant Plastic Surgeon

Bengaluru