What Does it Mean to Have Realistic Expectations About Cosmetic Surgery?

It’s common for cosmetic and plastic surgeons to note that one of the keys to a successful procedure is to keep realistic expectations. But what does that phrase really mean? Sure, in theory it’s easy enough to decipher: you don’t want to get your hopes too high for any single individual procedure.

What Does Having Realistic Expectations Really Mean?

One of the reasons the phrase exists in the first place is because plastic surgery can sometimes be a little, well, overhyped in the media. When you watch plastic surgery on a television show, for example, there’s no limit to what any procedure can do.

But that’s not realistic. There are limits for each individual procedure. Part of having “realistic expectations” is knowing where those limits are.

Realistic Expectations in Plastic Surgery

Generally speaking, some of the confusion lies in the difference between plastic surgery and cosmetic surgery. For most people, “cosmetic surgery” will encompass smaller procedures–”plastic surgery” implies anything done with a scalpel. So cosmetic surgery covers procedures like Botox and Coolsculpting and Microneedling, plastic surgery covers procedures like facelift, rhinoplasty, and breast augmentation.

For the most part, plastic surgery procedures are going to generate more impactful, transformative results than cosmetic surgery procedures.

Even still–plastic surgery will have its own limitations. So part of having realistic expectations is acknowledging those limitations. So, part of those “realistic expectations” involve expecting a recovery period, during which you’ll need to focus on healing. Another part of realistic expectations will involve understanding how your results may appear on your body–and that will change from procedure to procedure.

Realistic Expectations in Cosmetic Surgery

Cosmetic procedures, such as Botox or dermal filler injections or even Coolsculpting, tend to produce much more low-key results. And that can trip up some patients. In part, that’s because–due to massive media coverage–many patients expect huge and significant transformations from cosmetic procedures.

In other words, some patients expect a set of Botox injections to produce a transformation equivalent to a facelift. And that’s just not something that’s within the realm of possibilities. So patients who are expecting a surgical-like transformation are setting themselves up for disappointment.

And that’s not what anyone wants. Because the transformation that Botox creates is still a significant transformation. The change will still make you look and feel more youthful. And if your expectations are in line with reality, you won’t find anything to be disappointed about.

How to Have Realistic Expectations

So you accept that having realistic expectations is important. So, suddenly, the question becomes: how do you get realistic expectations? Or, if your expectations are out of whack, how can you get them realigned?

The answer is pretty simple: talk to your plastic or cosmetic surgeon. And ask about what you can expect–not just about the results, but about the entire process. The more information you have about everything going in, the more likely it is that you’ll have realistic expectations about the outcome.

And realistic expectations can help make sure you end up happy with your results.

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