Breasts, nose, neck: Actress Kaley Cuoco has had all of these body parts surgically altered. The 31-year-old actress had no qualms about sharing her plastic surgery past with us recently, calling her boob job the best thing she’d ever done for herself. “I don’t think you should do it for a man or anyone else, but if it makes you feel confident, that’s amazing,” she says.
With an endorsement like that, we wouldn’t blame you if you wanted to take a page from her playbook and call a plastic surgeon right this second. But it’s important to remember that plastic surgery can be life changing (for better or worse), so it’s not a decision to make lightly. To help you decide, two top celebrity plastic surgeons share what critical questions you need to answer before going under the knife:
1. When was your last growth spurt?
“It doesn’t make sense to perform elective surgery on a body that’s still growing and changing,” says Ryan Neinstein, M.D., a New York City-based board-certified plastic surgeon. “Your body height, weight, and breast size should stay the same for at least a year before seriously considering anything.”
2. What exactly do you want the surgery to correct?
You should have a very specific idea of what you want fixed, says Eugene Elliott, M.D., a board-certified plastic surgeon at Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center in Fountain Valley, California. Neinstein says that the happiest plastic surgery patients are those who use it to fix a specific issue and who are doing it as a way to normalize their body, not necessarily enhance it.
So if you know you want rhinoplasty—a.k.a. a nose job—to balance your facial features and help you breathe better, or you want a breast reduction to help relieve discomfort, that’s fine. But if you’re just looking to make a change that will make you feel better, that’s a red flag. “You shouldn’t come in if you just have a broad sense of disliking yourself,” says Elliott. “Despite popular belief, plastic surgery isn’t a cure for a low self-image.” Really drill down into what issues you’re consistently dealing with, then look into whether plastic surgery can solve the problem and enhance your quality of life.
3. Why do you want plastic surgery?
Your motivation for permanently changing your body can make the difference between a successful result and lifelong regret, says Neinstein. “You should never change yourself to keep a boyfriend, fit in your social circle, look like a celebrity, or in response to a major event (like a divorce or job loss),” he says. “The best reasons are because it’s something you’ve been thinking about for a long time and you want to do it for yourself.”
4. What are you expecting?
If you’re dreaming of Kaley’s abs or Angelina Jolie’s lips, you can forget it. The point, both doctors say, is to make you a better version of you. “Many women go into plastic surgery with very unrealistic expectations of both the effects it will have on their looks and on their life,” Neinstein says. “We can only work with your body, not give you a new one.” Elliott agrees. To make sure you’re on the same page, the doctors recommend looking at digital models of what you could look like (many surgeons offer this software in-house, or you can try Plastic Surgery Simulator or Discover Beauty) instead of relying on before and after pictures of other people, it is always recommended to look for the best professional as possible, like the team from SkinMD – Skin Potions.
Afterward, “Ask yourself, ‘How will I feel looking in the mirror and seeing this change?’ If the answer is, ‘I’m finally going to look on the outside how I feel on the inside,’ then you’re good,” says Dr. Neinstein. “[But] if you feel unsure at all then you should wait.”