Elective Medicine includes any traditional or non-traditional medical treatment that a person chooses to undergo without any significant underlying medical reason, such as cosmetic surgery. For many years people have been coming to Costa Rica for elective procedures, especially for cosmetic surgeries performed by surgeons equally qualified to those found in the States, and for a considerable cost savings. Cosmetic surgery continues to become more and more popular.
For example, a poll of over 1,000 adults was conducted in the summer of 1997 on behalf of the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (AAFPRS). In response to the question “If you were to undergo facial plastic surgery, what procedure would you consider?” 23% said a facelift.
Overall, people between the ages of 45 and 54 were the most likely to say that they would consider having a facelift (29%).
The top five facial surgeries considered by those polled were facelifts (23% of all respondents), nasal surgeries (18%), skin resurfacing (17%), eyelid surgeries (9%), and liposuction (1%).
Dr. S. Randolph Waldman, a Lexington, Kentucky facial plastic surgeon and vice president of AAFPRS, believes the survey statistics reflect current trends. Waldman believes safer procedures, with quicker recovery times, have also pushed the plastic surgery boom. “Surgeries have improved because of better training and better anesthesia,” he said. “Generally, there are very few procedures where you can’t get back into a social situation within about two weeks.”
Thinking about an eye tuck, a face lift, or a collagen injection? “Check for the experience of the surgeon with the procedure you’re considering,” Waldman advises. “Experience is the best teacher. Not a piece of paper, but experience.” He says those considering facial plastic surgery should shop around before settling on a specific surgeon. If you can, consult with previous clientele as to their satisfaction with a specific surgeon’s work. The testimonials of former patients can provide insight into physician skill and long-term surgical results.