Summary: According to recent statistics, the popularity of plastic surgery procedures continues to rise. The increasing number of practicing plastic surgeons per capita in the United States combined with more affordable prices mean that more men and women than ever before can now pursue their goal appearance with modern surgical advancements. However, not all plastic surgery results are equal. To ensure that you achieve the best possible cosmetic results, follow these five tips.

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1. Know the Results You Want

The first step toward reaching your ideal plastic surgery outcome lies in knowing exactly what you want. Just like any goal should be clearly defined in order to make it more reachable, take some time to research the results that are possible from your procedure and browse through post-op photos of real people who have had the procedure you’re interested in. Understand the limitations of your procedure and aim for a realistic outcome. If you find one or more unedited photos that exemplify your dream look, save them and show your plastic surgeon to make sure that your goals aren’t lost in translation.

2. Look for a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon

Your surgeon is the single most defining factor of your plastic surgery results. Your surgeon’s experience, training, individual understanding of the human form and commitment to the highest standard of aesthetic surgery all play a role in determining your final outcome.

One of the best ways to ensure that you find the best plastic surgeon is by searching for one who is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. Board certification indicates that your surgeon has received extensive training in all areas of plastic surgery and is up to date with the latest developments in surgical technique and technology.

3. Schedule a Consultation

A consultation with your surgeon is commitment-free and many practices even offer complimentary consultation services. Your consultation is the ideal time to discuss your reasons for pursuing aesthetic surgery, ask any questions you may have and talk with your surgeon about your appearance goals.

Your surgeon should be able to clear up any misconceptions you may have and give you a better idea of what you can expect from the surgical process and recovery. Don’t hesitate to schedule consultations with several different surgeons to find the one who feels like the best fit.

4. Look at Real Patient Before-and-After Photos

Most surgeons offer a photo gallery of real patient before-and-after pictures on their practice website. You should also be able to request to see photos during your consultation. Because many surgeons’ websites feature models rather than actual patients due to privacy concerns, looking through photos of real men and women who have had procedures at that practice is an important step in determining whether your surgeon is capable of creating your desired results. Plus, looking at before-and-after photos can be instrumental in helping you maintain realistic expectations.

5. Follow Up with Your Surgeon

The process of reaching your goal appearance doesn’t end in the recovery room. Many procedures take months for you to fully heal and see your final results develop. Follow your surgeon’s post-surgical care instructions and don’t hesitate to follow up with your surgeon with any questions or concerns that come up as you heal. By keeping your surgeon updated with any new developments and listening to his or her feedback, you can move toward achieving the best possible plastic surgery results that help you feel as confident as you deserve.