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How Long Does Plastic Surgery Last?


Many people choose to undergo a cosmetic procedure because it can significantly improve the signs of aging through state-of-the-art techniques. For others, aesthetic surgery is a solution to accentuate their body shape or to correct certain flaws with their facial features. Since facial and body corrections are achieved by means of incisions, the downtime is longer. However, the results from an aesthetic procedure can last much longer than a noninvasive approach.

How long do cosmetic surgery results last? What can patients do to retain results? A surgeon should inform a patient what to expect after undergoing a specific procedure and explain how an individual’s anatomy and period of healing may vary. Seattle plastic surgeon, Dr. Shahram Salemy, provides advice on how to best achieve long-lasting results. He states that compliance to a surgeon’s postoperative care instructions is key. They will need to follow these instructions for several weeks after surgery and modify their daily activities to encourage the body’s healing process. Depending upon the patient and the surgeon, post-care instructions will vary. During the first weeks after the elected procedure, it is essential that the patient and surgeon keep in communication with one another to minimize health issues in the future.

Breast Implants
10-25 years

Breast augmentation is the most popular cosmetic surgical procedure for women performed in the United States. The procedure involves the insertion of saline or silicone implants which increases breast size as desired. While there is no expiration date for the implants, studies show that about 25% of women who undergo breast augmentation will have some other procedure performed on their breasts within the first 10 years (this may be something as simple as a scar revision or changing implant size). However most women undergoing the procedure will keep their implants for many years, perhaps decades, but this varies from patient to patient.

Varies by Individual

Genetic factors determine the amount and distribution of fat cells which shrink or expand based on weight loss or weight gain. This procedure is chosen when individuals desire to remove stubborn areas of fat that do not respond well to dieting or exercising; it involves removing excess fat deposits to contour and slim the patient’s body. Although the results of this surgery are permanent, this procedure should not be considered as an effective solution for permanent weight loss. The best way to maintain results after this procedure is by regularly engaging in physical activity and eating a well-balanced diet.

This surgical procedure can permanently alter how the body distributes fat to deliver a more proportionate appearance overall. However, the aging process and other factors trigger the accumulation of fat in the stomach, arms, abdomen, and neck. In order to avoid fat cells from growing larger, patients undergoing this procedure should follow a healthy lifestyle including a sensible diet and exercise regimen.

Usually Permanent

Commonly referred to as a nose job, this procedure is often chosen by patients who want to make their noses less prominent in shape or size. This procedure is performed on both younger and older patients, and a good outcome for this procedure is a balanced result in symmetry with the rest of the face.

The procedure can last a lifetime, but results vary. Maximal healing and change of the nose occur in the first few years after the procedure. In some cases, a second procedure may need to be done to correct irregularities in the shape or size of the nose. Subtle changes to the nose’s appearance will still come from aging and gravity.

Varies by Individual

Clinically known as a rhytidectomy, this procedure is used to improve the overall appearance of the face and jaw. Lifting the face involves reducing sagging skin, wrinkles and other common signs of aging. Attention to detail and the ability to create a naturally pleasing face are needed by the surgeon to minimize scarring and rejuvenate the patient’s facial structure.

Many surgeons use advanced, minimally invasive techniques to reduce discomfort and downtime. Although a rhytidectomy is not covered by insurance, the patient does have access to numerous affordable financing options to help manage the cost. This type of aesthetic surgery cannot stop the aging process, but can still be an excellent investment to improve a qualified patient’s level of confidence. In addition to traditional full rhytidectomies, there are several other variations of the procedure (known as mini lifts) that target specific areas of the face.

Eyelid Lift Surgery
Usually Permanent

A blepharoplasty is a surgical procedure performed on just the upper eyelids or may be performed on the lower eyelids or both. The longevity of this procedure typically lasts for a lifetime but can vary based on each person’s aging process, pre-existing conditions, and genetics. Good candidates for this procedure are non-smokers, those who do not have medical conditions that can inhibit healing, healthy individuals who do not have a life-threatening illness, individuals without serious eye conditions, and individuals with positive, specific goals in mind for eyelid surgery.

Get more tips and answers about aesthetic surgery procedures by browsing Dr. Salemy’s FAQs page.

Dr. Shahram Salemy Close Up

Shahram Salemy, MD, FACS

Dr. Salemy is an award-winning, ASPS Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon and member of the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (ASAPS) practicing in Seattle, WA. As Clinical Associate Professor at the University of Washington's School of Medicine, Department of Surgery, Division of Plastic Surgery and President of The Northwest Society of Plastic Surgeons, Dr. Shahram Salemy strives to advance the field and practice of plastic surgery for both his patients and his university students. Learn more about Dr. Shahram Salemy and his esteemed background.
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We have chosen not to display before and after photos of labiaplasties given the sensitive nature of this anatomy. However, we will be happy to show you before and after photos at your consultation so that you may see the kinds of results that are possible with this procedure.