Deciding to have a cosmetic procedure to enhance your appearance is a big step. As with any type of medical procedure, it involves cost, time and a degree of risk. So how can you make the most of your experience? We asked several local experts to give us their tips for the ‘dos and don’ts’ associated with various cosmetic procedures.

FACE—Dr. Mike Nayak, director of facial plastic and cosmetic surgery, Nayak Plastic Surgery

*When considering a facial cosmetic procedure, make sure to clearly describe to your surgeon what specifically you are trying to improve, and really listen to what he or she thinks can and cannot be accomplished. Communication of goals and limitations before the surgery is the key to happiness.

*Be open to a combination approach. Combining surgery, injections, lasers and skin care creates the most natural and balanced results.

NOSE—Dr. Brock Ridenour, facial plastic surgeon, Ridenour Plastic Surgery and Professional Skin Care

*Rhinoplasty is perhaps the most difficult cosmetic operation to perform; and experience with primary and revision rhinoplasty is extremely important. Find a surgeon who performs rhinoplasty on a regular basis and make certain they have at least five, preferably 10 to 15 years, of experience. He or she should be able to tell you not only what they plan to do, but why they plan to do it. Look at a number of patient photographs to see if the doctor’s results look natural, balanced and authentic.

BREASTS—Dr. Samer Cabbabe, plastic and reconstructive surgeon, Cabbabe Plastic Surgery

*See a board-certified plastic surgeon who does a significant volume of breast surgery, and take a look at his or her before-and-after photographs.

*Discuss the advantages of silicone and saline implants with your surgeon and placement above or below the muscle. You also can inquire if you are a candidate for fat-grafting to the breast in lieu of an implant, or a candidate for a shaped implant. If you have developed droopiness of your breasts, inquire about whether you might also need a lift.

*To make the most of breast surgery, come with specific goals. Most women want a better shape, and some want more volume. Most women who get a lift these days also have an implant placed or fat-grafting done to augment their results. Also, realize that your result is going to be related to the shape of your breasts before surgery and the quality of your skin. If your breasts have deflated and the amount of breast tissue has thinned, it is going to be more difficult to maintain a nice result.

TORSO (‘Love Handles,’ ‘Flanks’)—Dr. Thomas Wright, cosmetic surgeon and medical director, St. Louis Laser Vein Center

*Invest in procedures that further your goals. Liposuction by itself helps people get motivated to take care of the new shape they've invested in.

*Assist your body in finding a new shape. After flank liposuction, I recommend that patients wear two compression garments for two weeks. The first garment is a wrap-like cloth binder that is about as thick as a sweater and gives firm compression. The second garment is a lycra T-shirt. I recommend patients wear that for two months post-liposuction to help the skin shrink to its new shape.

*Assist in aftercare by applying a silicone gel product to small holes where fat was removed to improve the appearance of any scar. This little bit of care greatly assists an optimal recovery.

THIGHS AND BUTTOCKS—Dr. Richard Moore, medical director, The Lifestyle Center

*Saddlebags (fat deposits on the outer thighs) respond very nicely to procedures such as Tickle Lipo or Vaser Lipo (both types of liposuction), which can make a profound difference in how clothing fits. Treatment for the inner thighs is not as simple as skin in this area does not tighten back up as nicely as most body areas. Treatment with skin-tightening devices, such as Venus Freeze, often can overcome this problem.

*For reduction of buttocks size, patient selection and education is important because as the size of the buttocks is reduced, you can get a loss of support in the lower buttocks and sagging can result. Again, the Venus Freeze has been helpful in firming the skin tissue of the buttocks.

*For augmentation of the buttocks, we harvest fat from another area (usually abs and flanks) and transfer the fat to the buttocks. This results in sculpting the body in above the buttocks, which gives more curvature to the top of the buttocks, while rounding out the buttocks with the fat transfer.

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