What is the difference between cosmetic and reconstructive surgery?

Reconstructive surgery is performed to alleviate the symptoms or results of congenital or acquired defects. This includes includes a wide variety of congenital (birth) defects, as well as physical abnormalities that are the result of injury, infection, disease or aging. Reconstructive surgery can help heal burn marks, bedsores or to minimise the consequences of such sores. Women who have lost a breast due to cancer often have reconstructive surgery to recreate the breast. Medical insurance covers reconstructive surgery according to Regulation 471 of Icelandic Law. See price list for more information.
Cosmetic surgery, on the other hand, is performed to visually improve features or reclaim a youthful appearance. Individuals seeking cosmetic surgery are not considered ill nor do they carry scars from injuries. Medical insurance does not cover cosmetic surgery such as face lifts, eye lid surgeries, breast augmentation, etc.

Is reconstructive or cosmetic surgery for anyone?

Individuals suffering from infections, disease or the effects of diseases such as cancer, or individuals recovering from accident or injury often require reconstructive surgery. In such cases, Icelandic patients are entitled to receive the help they require through medical insurance. The need for such surgeries is often obvious and is usually a part of the patient’s overall treatment plan. The decision to get cosmetic surgery is up to the individual and the need is not always observable. People can reap various benefits from cosmetic surgery, especially if the problem is well defined and has been carefully considered.

What is the best way to prepare for surgery?

After the surgeon has reviewed the problem with you and a mutual decision to proceed with surgery has been made, you will receive detailed instructions on how to prepare for the surgery. The instructions will outline how long to fast prior to the surgery, recommendations for ceasing smoking before and after the surgery and perhaps the temporary cessation of some prescription medications or health supplements. There may be recommendations regarding hygiene and the use of antiseptics. It is important to follow these instructions carefully. It is always a good idea to be well rested and in the best possible physical state when undergoing surgery.

How much access will I have to the surgeon in the days following the surgery?

After the surgery, the surgeon will check-up on you several times every few days, depending on the size and scope of the surgery. He will give also make his work, home and mobile phone numbers available to you should something come up for which you require his assistance over the phone.

Why are smokers encouraged to quit before and after surgery?

Smokers are usually asked to quit two weeks prior to surgery until one week after its completion. This is because smoking inhibits and delays the body’s ability to heal its wounds. It is a commonly known fact that complications during and after surgery are more common in smokers, both during and after the procedure.

Where is the surgery performed?

Dr. Stefansson performes most of his procedures at Dea Medica, Glæsibær.

How is pain managed during surgery?

Surgery is performed either with general or local anesthesia or a mixture of the two, which entails a local anesthetic combined with an oral sedative/analgesic. Pain management techniques are determined largely by the severity of the surgery, the age of the patient as well as other factors. Sometimes the patient can request what type of anesthetic is used and this is usually decided in the interview which takes place days or weeks before the surgery.

What type of professional handles the administering of anaesthetic?

An anaesthesiologist is without exception responsible for the administering of anaesthesia. Coming out of anaesthesia is monitored by both nurses and anaesthesiologists.

What kinds of complications are associated with cosmetic surgery?

Problems or complications due to surgery can come up with cosmetic procedures. Common to most procedures is that some scars may be visible, although all efforts are made to minimise them. Scarring can vary by patient. The risk of bleeding and infection is a reality with all surgeries, although the possibility varies with the size and scope of the surgery. Sometimes anaesthesia can have negative side effects including nausea and light-headedness. To minimise risks it is important to follow the surgeon’s recommendations carefully and take all prescribed medicines.

How is cup size determined for breast augmentation?

When determining the volume of the implant for breast augmentation surgery, height, weight and body type must be taken into consideration. Prior to the surgery, women can try the implants on under their clothing to get a better idea of what suits them. The women’s wishes are respected provided they are within reason.

Is scarring common after surgery?

All surgeries leave some sort of scarring. Often times, however, the scars can be placed in inconspicuous places or within creases. Every current method is used to ensure that the scarring be as minimal as possible. The prominence of scars is not entirely determined by the way the surgery is performed, but also by how the individual’s tissue repairs itself. Some people develop faint scars while others are more prone to thicker and heavier scarring. On rare occasions, keloid scars results . The appearance of scars can often be further improved later, but it is impossible to know the extent of scarring before the procedure.

How long do the sutures stay in?

Often absorbable sutures that decompose harmlessly are used so as to avoid suture removal. They resemble plasters and support the incision for the required amount of time. If facial suturing is required, sutures are usually removed 5 to 8 days after the surgery. Sutures on the torso or extremities need to be in place for 8 to 14 days.

Can I take painkillers after the surgery?

Painkillers containing aspirin should be avoided in the days following surgery because the blood thinning qualities of aspirin increase risk of bleeding and bruising. Other painkillers such as paracetamol and codeine are prescribed after surgery.

How long is the recovery time following cosmetic surgery?

Recovery time depends on the size and magnitude of the surgery as well as the patient’s general health. Recovery times can vary from a few days to a few weeks.