What Is Cosmetic Surgery
Look good to feel good! Dig into this guide to learn exactly what is cosmetic surgery and how it can benefit your beauty.

Cosmetic surgery is on the rise and shows no indication of slowing down.

In 2018, almost 18 million people requested cosmetic surgery. To dig a little deeper into those numbers:

  • 1,533,640 were surgical cosmetic procedures
  • 3,315,888 were nonsurgical procedures

Cosmetic procedures is a rather broad term, though. So many procedures fall under this category. Cosmetic surgery also differs quite a bit from plastic surgery.

Curious about the difference? Keep reading to learn exactly what is cosmetic surgery and how it can benefit your beauty. Dig in to learn more!

What is Cosmetic Surgery?

Cosmetic surgery is designed to improve a person’s physical appearance.

When we look good, we feel good, right? Many people undergo cosmetic surgery to improve their looks, but that’s not the only goal. Improving our appearance can boost self-esteem and self-confidence levels, too. 

Cosmetic surgery is performed on any part of the body or face.

Surgery can cause lasting and sometimes dramatic physical changes. However, these changes affect the inside of our bodies as much as the outside.

Before choosing to undergo cosmetic surgery, make sure you:

  • Have realistic expectations about the end result
  • Understand all medical risks (more on this below)
  • Understand the healing process
  • Note any necessary lifestyle changes to improve your recovery
  • Know how the surgery will affect you
  • The cost

Discuss your goals with a surgeon beforehand. They can help resolve any questions you have. They’ll also help you establish realistic expectations about your surgery.

Types of Cosmetic Surgery

The top five surgical cosmetic procedures in 2018 where:

  • Breast augmentation
  • Liposuction
  • Breast lifts
  • Tummy tucks
  • Eyelid surgery

Meanwhile, the top five nonsurgical procedures were:

  • Botulinum toxin
  • Hyaluronic acid
  • Nonsurgical fat reduction
  • Photorejuvenation
  • Chemical peels

Buttock augmentation and labiaplasty also experienced five continuous years of growth. Even injectables such as botulinum toxin and hyaluronic acid injections rose in popularity last year. 

There are plenty of other procedures, though. For the face, there’s:

  • Botox
  • Cheek lifts
  • Chemical peels
  • Chin surgery
  • Cosmetic dentistry
  • Dermabrasion 
  • Ear surgery (otoplasty)
  • Facelifts
  • Laser hair removal
  • Neck lifts
  • Nose surgery (rhinoplasty)

Meanwhile, body cosmetic procedures include:

  • Arm lifts
  • Breast augmentation, lifts, reductions
  • Buttock lifts
  • Circumferential body lifts
  • Laser hair removal
  • Liposuction

Surgery isn’t always for self-indulgent purposes, though.

A surgeon might recommend surgery to improve your appearance after an accident. In some cases, a surgeon might also recommend reconstructive surgery. This would improve function to a body part that’s been damaged.

Reconstructive surgery falls under the umbrella of plastic surgery rather than cosmetic surgery.

Before & After

According to a poll of 204 men and women, many people choose plastic surgery to:

  • Improve their self-esteem
  • Experience life satisfaction
  • Improve their self-rated physical attractiveness 

The study also examined which factors affect a person’s perceived benefits of cosmetic surgery. Knowing what to expect can help you recognize those benefits (and risks) for yourself.


When you first meet your surgeon, discuss your goals. Understand each of the available options and finding clarity about the possible outcomes. Asking questions now can help you make the best decision to achieve your goals. 

Your surgeon will also list the benefits, risks, and possible complications. 

You can even discuss alternatives or necessary additional procedures at this time. 

Making a solid plan can help enhance the overall result of your procedure.

One side of the body looks different than the other. Understanding the body’s asymmetry can help you appreciate your current appearance as is. Cosmetic surgery, however, will change that natural beauty.

You’ll also meet with a nurse to discuss your lifestyle issues, current medications, and overall health.

The nurse will list any medications, diet, activity restrictions, and pain management following your surgery.

Then, you’ll sign a consent form, determine your surgical fees, and complete a preoperative exam.


After your procedure, you should receive a list of instructions for post-surgical care. These instructions are specific to your procedure. Follow them to the letter.

Following these instructions will help you minimize complications. The aftercare guide can also improve the healing process after your surgery.

When people ask “what is cosmetic surgery,” they’re often concerned about the pain.

Your surgeon will prescribe prescription pain medications and antibiotics. Make sure to review the instructions for taking these medications.

Don’t be alarmed when you notice swelling or bruising after your surgery. The bruises are completely normal. While the bruises might take three weeks to heal, the swelling will probably take longer.

Some patients also experience a brief blues period after their cosmetic surgery.

You might experience disappointment or frustration if you judge the results before your body has time to heal. Try to remain patient.

Remember, remaining realistic is important here. Every person experiences different results. Keep in mind that perfection isn’t an attainable goal.

Rather, your surgery can help improve your appearance. 

Your recovery time will vary depending on your body and procedure. Try to plan for six to 12 weeks of recovery time.

Know the Risks

Every surgery, cosmetic surgery included, has risks.

If you have a history of obesity, diabetes, lung disease, or cardiovascular disease, the risks are higher. You could have a heart attack, blood clot, stroke, or pneumonia as a result of your surgery.

Other possible risks include:

  • Infection, which might make scarring at the incision site worse
  • Mild bleeding
  • Fluid build up beneath the skin
  • Numbness, tingling, and nerve damage
  • Skin breakdown

In some cases, you might need additional surgery to remedy these issues.

When you meet with your surgeon, ask them about the risks associated with your type of cosmetic surgery.

Your personal health history might add to these risks as well. For example, smoking increases your chance of experiencing side effects. It can hurt the healing process, too. 

What Is Cosmetic Surgery: Your Look-Good Guide

When you look good, you feel good, too. Now that we’ve answered exactly what is cosmetic surgery, you can dig into one of these procedures for yourself.

Schedule a consultation with us today to discover how cosmetic surgery can change your life.