Loving your body

PUBLISHED: 11:21 22 September 2009 | UPDATED: 16:15 20 February 2013

Cosmetic treatments come in all shapes and sizes - just like bodies. But how can you be sure that you're making the right move if you decide that you want to aesthetically enhance what Nature gave you?

According to consultant plastic surgeon John Pereira, cosmetic treatments are as much about mind as body - and 90 per cent of the surgery he carries out is to boost confidence.
The most popular treatments are breast augmentations/reductions, tummy tucks and liposuction, and many of the patients John sees are mums who have finished having their children and want their old body back.
Some women opt for surgery before children - particularly breast operations - and others treat themselves to cosmetic treatment when they retire.
But it's not just women who want to look better and younger: one in 20 opting for cosmetic treatments are men. "For men it's often a middle of life thing," says John. "Maybe they've lost weight or stopped drinking and they opt to enhance their new lifestyle with liposuction, male breast reduction or eyelid surgery."
He says the days of Jordan-style breast implants are over, with most patients looking to balance their body shape, enhancing their bust to balance with their bottom half, or reducing their lower body to balance the top!
"A lot of the surgery we perform is about functionality and improving quality of life," says John, who practices across Kent. "It's very rare that I get people who are beautiful wanting to be more beautiful."
A good surgeon will be able to work out whether surgery is right for their potential patient through consultations prior to the procedure.
John's patients get two consultations before surgery. "That's as much about making sure the person is there for the right reasons as it is to go through the procedure and potential complications," says John.
"It's important for me to make sure they are there for the right reasons.
If the problem seems to be out of proportion, I spend more time with them and some realise that surgery isn't appropriate for them after all."
John also works with a hypnotist and life coach. "While for some people surgery might help," he says, "others need a whole package of help and to see someone who can help put their whole life in perspective."

Playing safe
The range of cosmetic treatments is vast and knowing where to have your body or face enhanced can be tricky. Making the wrong decision can leave you disappointed and with a worse body image than you had before.
And while deciding on surgery abroad can seem like a cheaper option, it can come laden with risks, particularly due to the lack of after care, says John, who advises being open and talking to others.
"Always go on personal recommendation rather than glossy adverts," he says. Once you think you've found the right person and location for your cosmetic treatment, the following questions are a good starting point:

• Are you registered to do this?
• Have you carried out this procedure before and if so, how many times?
• What are the complications?
• What are your complication rates?
• What do you think my outcome will be?

You should also ask who will be carrying out your surgery and check them out on the Specialist Register of the General Medical Council to ensure they are registered for plastic surgery.

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