Top 10 practical cosmetic surgery tips

In his Cambridge cosmetic surgery clinic, Mr Tariq Ahmad is often asked for practical advice on making the process run as smoothly as possible.

1. Quit smoking ahead of surgery.

Nicotine in the bloodstream can increase risk during surgery. Furthermore, smoking can delay the healing the process. Mr Ahmad advises his Cambridge patients to abstain from all nicotine products at least a fortnight before their cosmetic surgery.

2. Clear your diary.

Your surgeon will give you a clear idea in your consultation about how much time you need to take off work, but as a general guide you should allow two weeks before resuming most normal activities.

3. Dress sensibly.

Think about the clothing you take to the hospital as you will feel tender and groggy. Wear comfortable, loose clothing and button-up shirts to avoid pulling anything over your head.

4. Organise an escort.

Make sure you have someone to take you home afterwards and stay with you for the first 24 to 48 hours.

5. Fill your freezer with meals.

You won’t feel like cooking after your cosmetic surgery but you need to eat to help your recovery.

6. Throw in some ice packs too.

Applied to swollen cheeks or chest, ice packs can help bring the swelling down. Your surgeon will give you application instructions.

7. Organise cover for your responsibilities.

Don’t try to muddle on through as you will only slow down the healing process. Childcare, walking the dog – line up someone else to do it.

8. Get in supplies for some sofa time.

Magazines, DVD box sets, some page-turning novels – anything that encourages you to take it easy.

9. Have nutritious drinks and snacks on standby.

After cosmetic surgery, your body needs nutrients to help it heal quickly.

10. Follow your cosmetic surgeon’s instructions.

Your cosmetic surgeon is best placed to give you specific guidance on aftercare. Adhering to their advice will propel you towards a full and speedy recovery.

Top 5 cosmetic surgery FAQs

If you have got to the point of booking a cosmetic surgery consultation, then you will probably have been considering the pros and cons of surgery for some time and have researched what is involved. The consultation is your opportunity to fill in the gaps in your knowledge – and only your surgeon will have the answers to some of your questions. Here are five of the most frequently asked questions Mr Tariq Ahmad hears in his Cambridge cosmetic surgery clinic.

1. Will I be safe?

Every surgery, be its purpose aesthetic or medical, carries an element of risk; the safest way forward is to manage and minimise this risk. This is achieved by choosing a highly qualified surgeon (are they listed on the GMC’s Specialist Register of Plastic Surgeons?) who operates in a reputable clinic such as Cambridge’s Spire or Nuffield hospitals. Your health will be a factor and an experienced cosmetic surgeon will take a full medical history and explain the risks before any surgery is planned.

2. Can you guarantee success?

Find out about your surgeon’s patient satisfaction rates. During a consultation, Mr Tariq Ahmad asks his cosmetic surgery candidates about their expectations, discusses how realistic these are and explains the limitations of surgery.

3. Will it look natural?

The best cosmetic surgery is difficult to spot. A highly experienced surgeon who has technical skill and an artistic eye can produce natural-looking and beautiful results. Ask to see before and after photos.

4. What will it cost?

After your consultation, you should know what the final costs of your treatment will be – and have been assured that there are no hidden extras.

5. When can I get back to normal?

Recovery time varies according to procedure and to an individual’s capacity to heal. Your surgeon will be able to give you a clear idea of what to expect during your consultation.

3 reasons to be the ‘right’ age for cosmetic surgery

Here are three questions to ask yourself about your stage in life and what part that will play in your cosmetic surgery choices.

1. In physical terms, is this the optimal time?

With any cosmetic surgery, it is important to wait until you are fully matured. Teenagers seeking a rhinoplasty, for example, will be advised to wait until their face and nose have finished developing otherwise the results will be compromised by further maturation. Conversely, the ideal facelift candidate will choose to have treatment before their skin loses too much elasticity. However, people age at different rates, depending on a variety of factors including lifestyle. During your Cambridge cosmetic surgery consultation, Mr Tariq Ahmad will be able to advise you on the best course of action, taking into account physical factors such as your individual skin condition.

2. Are you emotionally ready to make a decision?

A reputable cosmetic surgeon will not only be concerned that you have the physical maturity to undergo surgery. However, having mental clarity is not just a question of age; if you are going through a period of stress or massive change in your life, it may be wise to hold off on making any significant decisions.

3. What does your future hold?

Medically, there is nothing to stop you having a baby after a tummy tuck or a breast augmentation but the results of your cosmetic surgery are likely to be compromised by a pregnancy. For this reason, Mr Tariq Ahmad advises his Cambridge patients to wait until their family is complete. The best way to preserve the results of your cosmetic surgery is to keep your weight stable and adopt a healthy lifestyle that is low on ageing influences (smoking, sun worship and excessive alcohol) – are you prepared to make this commitment?

Top 4 cosmetic surgery safety guidelines

Research unveiled at this year’s Annual Scientific Meeting of the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) showed that many cosmetic surgery products and techniques are promoted to the public and media with few – if any – published scientific articles to back them up. Indeed, where there were supporting studies, over a third of the authors concerned admitted a conflict of interest. BAAPS has therefore called for the media and public to ‘grade’ the levels of evidence behind new claims and procedures. Until this becomes common practice, here are some guidelines on consumer safety.

1. Find out about your cosmetic surgeon.

Enquire about your cosmetic surgeon’s credentials. Are they on the GMC’s Specialist Register of Plastic Surgeons? Are they a member of a prestigious professional body such as BAAPS or BAPRAS? How much experience do they have of this particular procedure?

2. Be cautious of ‘free’ consultations.

BAAPS members, such as Cambridge-based cosmetic surgeon Mr Tariq Ahmad, are consultant plastic surgeons. They do charge for a consultation, just as any private doctor would for their professional medical opinion, but, unlike commercial clinics, they will not promote any treatment or attempt to lock you into a financial agreement. They may in fact advise you that cosmetic surgery is not appropriate for you at all.

3. Be your own master.

Only you can decide what cosmetic surgery you would like to have and you must do it to please only yourself. Be wary if a surgeon suggests treatment for something that had not concerned you prior to the consultation. Mr Tariq Ahmad ensures patients attending his Cambridge cosmetic surgery clinic are given all the information they need and that they are never rushed or pressured into making a decision.

4. If you are uncomfortable, you don’t have to go through with it.

You are entitled to have a last minute change of mind and a reputable surgeon who has your interests at heart should not impose a penalty.

Top 3 cosmetic surgery discussion points

The consultation is a very important stage of your cosmetic surgery experience. It is your chance to settle unresolved issues of doubt, to meet your surgeon in person, and to ensure that both you and your surgeon are on the same page regarding your goals and expectations. Here are three key questions you should expect your cosmetic surgeon to raise for discussion.

1. Are you physically ready for cosmetic surgery?

During your cosmetic surgery consultation, your surgeon will ask you about your medical history. If you have been referred by your GP, they should have provided any relevant information in their letter. Your surgeon will also conduct a physical examination and discuss your general health. The fitter and healthier you are, the better able you are to cope with the ordeal of surgery, with a lower risk of complications and a greater capacity for swift healing.

2. Do you understand what is involved?

It is crucial that you make any decision of this magnitude in full possession of the facts. In his cosmetic surgery consultations, Cambridge-based Mr Tariq Ahmad describes what the procedure entails and all the potential risks involved. He encourages his patients to ask as many questions as they feel the need to and will seek assurance that they have digested all the information given.

3. What are your expectations?

Understanding the limitations of cosmetic surgery is crucial to a positive and satisfied outcome. Those patients who have unrealistic expectations, both in terms of what they will look like post-procedure and what transformative impact it will on their wider life, are the more likely to feel disappointed. To this end, Mr Tariq Ahmad will discuss at length your objectives and motivations and be clear about what you can hope to achieve. His Cambridge patients who have been honest about what they expect tend to be the happier with the results.