Following the death of hip-hop artist Kayne West's mother Donda West , after a tummy tuck and breast reduction procedure , the onus is once again on the risks of plastic surgery and who can be considered fit to undergo it.
According to experts in the field, there are two groups of patients most at risk- those with medical problems and those with psychological problems.
"The first rule of when not to have plastic surgery is if the doctor doesn't want to do it," advises Dr. Richard D'Amico. He is president of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. "If you have been turned away by a board-certified plastic surgeon, please don't ignore their advice", he stresses.
According to D'Amico it could be primarily be a matter of health concerns. The conditions that put would-be patients of plastic surgery at risk are : heavy smoking or drinking, diabetes , high blood pressure, bleeding disorders, heart or lung diseases, obesity , severe allergies, high cholesterol and arthritis.
No surgery is risk free observes D'Amico. But as cosmetic surgery in most cases is elective and not medically necessary, "we need to make sure we minimize the risks," he says.
Another factor that worries surgeons is psychological concerns. D'Amico puts them in the category of "management of expectations." This also means making sure the patient knows the limitations and risks of any cosmetic procedure.
A method by which doctors can assess expectations is through psychological testing. Experts cite some clear warning signs that might indicate an individual is a bad candidate for plastic surgery. These include periods of emotional crisis such as bereavement or divorce.
Some patients could also be having unrealistic expectations , such as changing a feature to resemble that of a star and expecting a change of fortune , afterwards. "I would first send them to get more counseling," says D'Amico.
Another psychological problem is an obsession with correcting a minor flaw. This is called Body Dysmorphic Disorder, where an individual agonizes over a flaw which only he or she notices. An individual with a history of severe depression, especially if on medication should first resolve his personal problems (usually through counseling) before attempting surgery, say experts.
Board-certified plastic surgeons are trained right from the beginning to make sure their patients are ready for surgery, both physically and mentally. Ascertaining that the right procedure is done at the right time can result in happiness and health . However , not doing so can lead to the extreme complication of plastic surgery, death.