While cosmetic surgery can offer you a new lease on life, a fresher face to show the world, it’s not a decision one should make lightly. Depending on the procedure you choose, whether it’s breast implants or a simple Botox injection to eliminate wrinkles, you will need to consider payments, time off from work to recover, and other factors. One issue you should definitely make primary is the choice of a reputable plastic surgeon to perform the operation. While the temptation to cut corners for the sake of saving a few dollars is strong, you should never risk your body or health with a “back-door” procedure. Here’s why.

Recently, six women in New Jersey were hospitalized after undergoing buttocks-enhancement injections with non-medical grade silicone. The substance used, a black market grade of silicone used mainly for caulking bathtubs, was given to the women, and consequently each patient had to seek treatment to fix their botched operations. As it turned out, those performing the work were not qualified to perform plastic surgery.

When you consult with a reputable, licensed doctor, you can rest assured your body will be well cared for. You will be made aware of the risks involved in the type of treatment you want, and your doctor will determine if any allergies or other potential reactions come into play. A good cosmetic surgeon uses clean equipment in a spotless operating room to avoid the chance of contamination and infection, and is there to follow up should a problem arise.

There is nothing wrong with having a thrifty nature, but when it comes to your body take no chances. Certain surgeries may be covered by your health insurance, so check first. Don’t make the mistake of trusting a non-professional to changing the way you look – you may discover later nothing can be done to repair the damage.

K. Lively is a freelance writer specializing in articles on Virginia plastic surgeons and Virginia cosmetic surgery.