Thinking of undergoing cosmetic surgery? Here are 8 questions to ask yourself first.

Image: iStock.

Some decisions in life can be taken lightly; undergoing a cosmetic procedure isn’t one of them. The choice to permanently alter a part of your body is a deeply personal one, and requires a considerable amount of forethought and research.

The impacts of plastic surgery aren’t just financial and physical; it’s also important to be mentally and emotionally prepared for the procedure, the recovery, and adjusting to your changed appearance.

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“It’s really important for the person, whether male or female, to be sure of what they’re getting into,” explains Maria Faustino, who has recently been appointed Resident Psychologist at The Cosmetic Institute.

In this role, Faustino offers emotional and mental support to patients, ensuring they are making “a fully informed and independent decision” about their procedure. This support is beneficial even when a patient is in the right frame of mind and confident in their decision.

1. Is this really the right option for me?

“Are you really making this decision because you really want to do it,  and you’re fully informed and aware of the costs and results and benefits of the procedure? That’s important to consider,” Faustino says.

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2. Can I handle the pain and the recovery?

“It’s important to do your research and speak to your cosmetic surgery provider so you know what to expect before, during and after your procedure because the more informed you are, the better equipped you are to manage your pain and recovery successfully,” Faustino says. (Post continues after gallery.)


 3. Is anyone pressuring me into this?

It’s your body that’s going to be changed by this procedure, so make sure you’re going through with it because you want to — not because a sexual partner, family member, friend or partner is telling or pushing you to. Faustino says people who undergo surgery due to external factors are more likely to be unhappy or resentful about the outcome than those who are self-motivated.

“I think it’s really important for that person to not be pressured by an external party, and to speak not just with a psychologist but with friends and family members they can trust to address these concerns. It really is a big decision and the changes are so permanent,” she says.

PR queen Roxy Jacenko had rhinoplasty surgery this year, and documented her recovery on social media.


"The way we look and feel about our body is something very personal and I think it's part of self-expression, really. Nobody has the right to tell you how to look or how to dress."

4. Do I know what post-operation results I can expect?

Faustino says it's crucial to ask yourself whether you have any preconceived notions about how you'll look and feel after the fact, and ensure you've done adequate research. "Make sure the benefits of undergoing this procedure outweigh the risks," she adds.


Aussie swimmer Steph Rice underwent rhinoplasty last year, and says she loves the way it looks and that it helped her breathing issues.



5. Do I have unrealistic expectations about what surgery can achieve?

When you have sky-high expectations about a particular experience, it's easy to feel disappointed and resentful if the reality doesn't match up. The same goes for plastic surgery, so ensure you understand its capabilities and its limitations.

It's important to know what to expect. (Image: Nip/Tuck)


"For example, cosmetic surgery can make you look more beautiful, fitter and younger, but at the same time it doesn't stop the natural ageing process and it's not a substitute for exercise. Cosmetic surgery alone does not fix boyfriend issues or problems at work," Faustino says.

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"Having really realistic expectations from the outset will maximise your satisfaction." (Post continues after video.)

6. Is my mental health in check?

Faustino says certain behaviours serve as major red flags. "For example, if a patient is engaging in unhealthy habits, eg. purging, excessive dieting, excessive exercising, generally speaking that's a sign of an underlying psychological condition," she explains.

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In this case, it's vital to address any mental health issues with a psychologist before even considering a surgical procedure. "Surgery may change the way your body looks but it doesn't change or fix unhealthy, dysfunctional habits related to body image, self-esteem and confidence," Faustino adds.

7. Is this a reaction to a personal crisis?

It's tempting to seek out a quick source of comfort or distraction.


When we experience emotional crises — divorce, the death of a loved one, a breakup, being fired — it's tempting to find a quick fix. Faustino says surgery can be an appealing option for some people, but making a physical change isn't going to heal your emotional turmoil.

"This procedure and even the pain may distract you from the emotional hurt you're going through, but it's not going to make sadness and hurt go away," she says. "Cosmetic surgery does not directly address any emotional issues, no matter how good your surgeon is. Just because you have new perky breasts doesn't mean your relationship issues are going to be addressed."

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In these circumstances, Faustino says it's important to seek out people and health professionals who can ensure you're getting the support, comfort and empathy you really need.

8. Have I done my research?

Plastic surgery comes at a significant financial cost, so you want to be confident in your choice of provider. Researching your options is absolutely essential.

"There are a lot of cosmetic surgery providers coming out of the woodwork, so it's really important that your provider is someone you can trust, and a company that can provide you with a high level of support during the procedure, before and after," Faustino advises.

"There is some level of adjustment to your new body or look; you want to make sure your money is well spent and you are being provided with that kind of support."

Have you ever undergone cosmetic surgery? Do you have any considerations to add to this list?