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THE POWER OF
TRANSFORMATION

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Frequently asked Questions

We know you probably have questions about cosmetic surgery and the different procedures and treatments. Here are some frequently asked questions.

QUESTIONS ABOUT
COSMETIC SURGERY

Am I too old or too young for cosmetic surgery?

A patient is seldom too old or too young for cosmetic surgery, although for children and teenagers it’s advisable to have cosmetic procedures only if necessary. Some children have surgery to ‘pin back’ prominent ears, but other cosmetic procedures are seldom necessary.

As far as cosmetic surgery in later life is concerned, it all depends on your well-being and your mindset. If you’re in your sixties or seventies and you’d like a face-lift, abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) or breast augmentation, there’s no reason why your age alone should exclude you from having the procedure. You should discuss the pros and cons with your surgeon, as well as your expectations.

Is cosmetic surgery safer than it used to be?
Cosmetic surgery is definitely safer than in previous decades. This is thanks to improved techniques and more advanced technology available to surgeons. The risks that are associated with cosmetic surgery are no greater than those associated with any other general surgery.
Are South African surgeons using the most advanced techniques, in line with those in the rest of the world?

They certainly are. Most cosmetic surgeons, including ours, attend at least one international congress a year, in order to keep up to date with new techniques and advancements around the world and to share knowledge with their fellow cosmetic surgeons.

They also attend national congresses in South Africa at which there are guest speakers from around the world.

What cosmetic surgical procedures have changed the most in recent years?
Breast augmentation and reconstruction have seen remarkable changes and improvements thanks to new technology and new surgical techniques. Facelift surgery and sub sections of facelifts have also become more sophisticated, and liposuction has also improved thanks to more sophisticated machines and techniques.
How has technology helped improve cosmetic surgery?
Micro imaging has resulted in big improvements in cosmetic surgical techniques. It is used in general as well as plastic and cosmetic surgery, making use of a small camera on a cable, which is inserted through tiny incisions.

Cosmetic surgeons now also use digital imaging software, which can help you visualise more accurately the result you want to achieve – especially in facial cosmetic surgery. With this software, you have a better idea of what the result will look like and you can make a more informed decision.

Recovery time – has that improved well?

Yes, it’s improved greatly, thanks to more sophisticated technology and advances in surgical techniques. Abdominoplasty, rhinoplasty and facelift recovery time can be about two weeks and breast augmentation four to six weeks. Many procedures do not require an overnight stay, and while swelling, redness and bruising are normal, most patients return to normal activities sooner than they expected.

Will my procedure be performed under a local or a general anaesthetic?

Breast augmentation is usually carried out under general anaesthetic – but it can be performed under a local anaesthetic (with sedation) when an implant is placed between the breast tissue and the muscle. Abdominoplasty and facelifts can also be performed under general or local anaesthesia (with sedation.)

More complex rhinoplasty is performed under general anaesthesia, but simpler procedures can be done under a local anaesthetic. Eyelid surgery (blepharoplasty) is performed under local anaesthetic.

QUESTIONS ABOUT
THE COSMETIC
SURGERY INSTITUTE

How long will I stay in the clinic after surgery?
This depends on the procedure. Many patients are surprised to learn that most procedures don’t require an overnight stay; after a rhinoplasty for example, you can return home as soon as the procedure is over, but abdominoplasty patients will stay overnight. Most cosmetic surgical procedures are relatively short and there is minimal blood loss, so blood pressure remains stable, which means it’s quite safe to recover at home.
How does the Cosmetic Surgery Institute compare to a regular hospital in its ability deal with emergencies? (i.e. if anything goes wrong during surgery?)

At the Cosmetic Surgery Institute, we’re as well equipped as any general hospital to deal with emergencies that may arise, such as cardiac arrest during surgery – a rare occurrence. The only difference is that at the Cosmetic Surgery Institute our smaller size means we’re able to run more smoothly and efficiently than a busy, bigger, general hospital.

Is the Cosmetic Surgery Institute as safe as a regular hospital?
In the operating theatre you’re just as safe as you’d be in the best private general hospital. In fact, you’re even safer here, because there are fewer patients in our wards, and virtually no diseases, since none of our patients are ill. They’re all healthy people having elective cosmetic surgery in a very clean and sterile environment.
How will my experience at the Cosmetic Surgery Institute differ from surgery through a regular cosmetic surgeon in private practice?
Some individual surgeons do have their own facilities but the Cosmetic Surgery Institute is the most sophisticated and well equipped in Cape Town. Many individual cosmetic and plastic surgeons will perform the bigger and more complex procedures through large private hospitals, and complete only the smaller procedures in their consulting rooms.
Are cosmetic procedures considered non-essential and therefore not covered by medical aid?
The vast majority of procedures will be classified by your medical aid as non-essential, and the costs will not be covered, with the exception of certain reconstructive procedures and some eye procedures, depending on the terms and conditions of medical plans, which do vary, so be sure to find out first whether your procedure may be covered. Some medical plans will cover a percentage of the costs of breast reductions.

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