Plastic surgery is defined as repair, restoration, or improvement of lost, injured or defective body parts. It can also be used as a synonym for “fake” or “superficial. ” Although the meaning of plastic surgery fluctuates between different people, the origin of the word “plastic” comes from the Greek “plastikos,” meaning “able to be molded. ” Throughout history, society values beauty. Individual’s pursuit in self-fulfillment through plastic surgery and restoration is one of the oldest healing arts. Researchers have found evidence that medical treatment for facial injuries were conducted more than 4,000 years ago.
Physicians in ancient India utilized skin grafts for reconstructive work as early as 800 B. C. (American Society of Plastic Surgeons) Detrimental injuries from World War 1 caused plastic surgery to increasingly develop in the early 1900’s. Victims in the war searched for restorative procedures. During this time, society used plastic surgery as a way to treat extensive facial and head injuries, shattered jaws, blown-off noses, lips, and skull wounds caused by modern weapons. Around 1960, plastic surgery increased in prominence in the perspective of the American public; procedures performed by surgeons increased due to many reasons.
The main reason: the improvements in scientific developments. A new discovery, silicone, appeared as a useful tool for plastic surgeons. Silicone, initially used to treat skin imperfections, adapted to other uses when Thomas Cronin, MD, of Houston, utilized it in a breast implant device in 1962. (American Society of Plastic Surgeons) During the 1970’s plastic surgeons used plastic surgery to enhance all parts of the human body. Plastic surgeon, Joseph Murray, MD, of Boston, performed the first successful kidney transplant, an achievement that earned him the Nobel Prize.
After society heard about this miracle, plastic surgery suddenly appealed to many more individuals. During the 1980’s, plastic surgery expanded its efforts to bring knowledge and information to the public. Patients pleaded for additional information to bring home and evaluate. After many interested patients asked for further information, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) began producing a variety of brochures on the specialty and individual plastic surgery procedures. (ASPS) Throughout the 1990’s, high controversial debates arose on the plastic surgery topic.
In 1995 a “plastic surgeons online” web service became available for people to post questions about different surgeries and receive responses from many people across the world. In 1996, the ASPS initiated its first public website, www. plasticsurgery. org, at the beginning of the new internet era. The ASPS offered the largest library of plastic surgery procedural information on the internet; it even included an online referral service. Despite the contributions and plastic surgeons efforts, worldwide communities began to not recognize the broad spectrum of work plastic surgeons performed.
American people became completely unaware of plastic surgeons reconstructive work, instead they equated “plastic surgeon” with “cosmetic surgeon. ” In 1994, ASPS President Elvin G. Zook altered the perception of plastic surgery. He promoted changing the name of the Society from American Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons (ASPRS) to American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) in an effort to convince people that plastic surgeons and reconstructive surgeons obtained the same role, not two different types of surgeons, like the old name of the society implied.
(ASPS) In 1999, the society officially became the American Society of Plastic Surgeons and the term “reconstructive” eventually disappeared. Initially society specifically used plastic surgery to reconstruct damaged features, but the motives for plastics surgery changed. The popularity and acceptance of plastic surgery steadily increased over the past 70 years. According to Psychologist David Sarwer, the acceptance of plastic surgery goes beyond vanity. “We’ve become increasingly accepting of ways of changing our bodies.
We’re much more comfortable with our bodies as malleable. ” Society has formed to accept people striving to change their bodies in unnatural ways, and generations slowly changed the view on beauty, along with the reasons to perform plastic surgery. Technology, media, and psychological factors have altered tremendously throughout history and are the causes for an increase in plastic surgery. The advancements in healthcare allow others to feel more comfortable undergoing surgery. Society is evolving into open minded, optimistic creatures when it comes to plastic surgery.
Plastic surgery procedures are much safer now, which increase the amount of people willing to try surgery in order to change the way he or she looks. According to the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (AAFPRS), improved technology and surgical techniques made a major difference in the procedures available. “New tools and products are entering the market offering improved results. ” (AAFPRS) These advancements increase the attractiveness of having a procedure. In 2003, more than 8. 7 million cosmetic procedures were performed, 32 percent more than in 2002.
Over the same time period, ASPS members performed 64 percent more procedures involving injectables. By 2004, 14. 8 million plastic surgery procedures were performed in the U. S. , and by 2006, that number rose to 16. 2 million. Popularity increased, mainly due to the awareness of minimal invasive techniques. With the statistics steadily increasing, it is apparent that society feels more comfortable undergoing surgery. Since the increase in technology, physicians perform various safe procedures that allow for quick recoveries, which is appealing to mostly everyone.
Allowing plastic surgery to be confidential and safe has increased the amount of people wanting to have surgery. Temptation arises to undergo some type of plastic surgery, especially when it is completely confidential and the recovery time is quick. Just a couple of decades ago, society considered it strange to admit to having plastic surgery. Patients commonly took unorthodox measures to receive this type of surgery, sneaking into doctors’ offices and using fake names.
“Currently, plastic surgery is so common that instead of scheduling secretive meetings, patients often bring parents, siblings, spouses, or friends to consultations” (Bee) “In 2007 alone, Americans spent $13 billion on 11. 7 million cosmetic procedures, both surgical and non-surgical. This was due to the better performance in technology. ” (Berliet) Plastic surgery is becoming increasingly accepted in society. Although procedures are completely confidential, many people do not care anyway. Regardless of confidentiality, millions of people openly seek cosmetic surgery because it is a lot safer than it used to be.
With quicker recovery time and technology advancements, more people feel comfortable and apt to receiving plastic surgery. Media growth also influences a person’s decision making process. In the 1970’s, doctors gained the right to advertise plastic surgery. Years after advertising became implemented, patients interest in procedures escalated after viewing them on TV and researching them online. In 2003, ABC-TV asked ASPS to allow members to participate in the reality series “Extreme Makeover.
” “The request raised a substantial ethical debate among plastic surgeons, but ultimately after reviewing the patient selection process of the show, the Society’s Executive Committee agreed to cooperate with the producer and network as long as the importance of the doctor-patient relationship was not lost and that the show’s patient selection process did not devolve into a contest. ” (ASPS) The series opened the idea for many more shows to discuss plastic surgery, and most of the shows were not even up to the high standards or positive plastic surgery image that “Extreme Makeover” portrayed.
With the combination of magazine coverage, the ASPS public education campaign, and the television shows revolving around plastic surgery, curiosity among the specialty grew tremendously. (ASPS) Even Social networking causes a significantly greater amount of people wanting plastic surgery as well. As more people use Facebook, a greater amount of people are becoming dissatisfied with the way they look. Triana Lavey is a 37-year-old television producer in Los Angeles. For work and social use, she spends a lot of time on Skype, Facebook, and other sites.
She said she hated the face staring back at her from her computer screen. “I have been self-conscious about my chin, and it is all stemming from these Facebook photos,” she told ABC News correspondent Cecilia Vega. “I think that social media has really changed so much about how we look at ourselves and judge ourselves,” Lavey said. “Ten years ago, I don’t think I even noticed that I had a weak chin. ” The more she saw herself online, the more she said she wanted to change. It all started with Facebook. Society is obsessing over Facebook photos and how he or she looks in pictures posted on social networking sites.
Social media, supposed to be fun and entertaining, is used to constantly judge oneself and others. A profile picture is a big deal to social networking users; it gives a first impression to others. Over 400 million people utilize social media; therefore, it is one of the primary ways to communicate with other individuals. With a tremendous amount of people using social media, most of these individuals ridicule other’s pictures frequently. “Social media sites center around photos,” says New York plastic surgeon Dr. Matthew Schulman.
“Everyone wants to see how their high school girlfriend or boyfriend looks now, and no one wants to be perceived as ugly or old. ” A lot of people say that this is prompting them to try cosmetic or plastic surgery, simply so they can look better in photographs online. “I have seen a significant increase in plastic surgery requests, specifically because of how people perceive how they appear online,” Dr. Schulman says. Social media is clearly a cause to an increase in plastic surgery. Society strives to be perfect, but perfection is a term that is unrealistic.
According to professor, Gunn Peterson, “Society today has a strong focus on appearance and perfectionism. Sometimes it can be good to focus on those who always do their best, but perfectionism can go on to become morbid and destructive. ” People want to look better in cyberspace, and they turn towards these morbid and destructive procedures to help them. Because of an increase in psychological illnesses, plastic surgery is increasing. It is more common to find people with low self-confidence in today’s day and age than in anytime throughout history.
Depression and low self-esteem have increased, causing more people to appear unhappy with how they look and making more people interested in plastic surgery. Society is seeking happiness, and they think plastic surgery is the answer for all of their problems. “It seems like those who get cosmetic surgery have more problems than others,” says Associate Professor Ingela Lundin Kvalem. “And after the surgeries, their symptoms of depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and excessive alcohol consumption have increased.
” According to an experiment done by Psychology of Women Quarterly, body insecurities and anxiety ranked as one of the highest causes as to why more people are considering plastic surgery. Receiving plastic surgery to improve appearance may seem like an efficient remedy, but when a person’s life fails to improve, his or her mental health problems might worsen, perhaps because of disappointment. (Ladegaard) These mental illnesses definitely influence a person’s decision as to whether they want plastic surgery or not.
Although some people believe there is nothing wrong with the increase in plastic surgery, the increase with this type of procedure can have negative effects. As I stated before, plastic surgery increases mental disorders and illnesses. Plastic surgery cannot live up to people’s high expectations; therefore, it leaves civilization disappointed and worsens mental health issues. Society progressively takes detrimental steps to look perfect, and people continue to have numerous plastic surgery procedures.
An increase in technology, media, and psychological disorders like depression hurts humanity. Even when many people receive procedures, they still do not look exactly how they want to. Cosmetic surgery is an appealing method for alleviating all of these appearance-focused concerns. If this trend continues, our world is going to be very unhappy. We will all look plastic, fake, and overall our generation will feel dissatisfied with the way we look and the way we live out our day to day lives.
Plastic surgery may decrease in the future if media and magazines post images of “real looking” people. Blemishes removed from every single person, in a magazine, only increases the amount of people wanting plastic surgery. Also, social networks should promote advertisements telling everyone to feel comfortable in his or her own skin. In addition, promoting uniqueness on commercials may decrease mental illnesses and self-dissatisfactions; therefore, plastic surgery will decrease as well, and the world will be increasingly happy.
Overall, technology, media, and psychological factors cause plastic surgery to elevate every year. The meaning of plastic surgery continues to change as well. War victims used to take advantage of plastic surgery for simply reconstructive work, but now almost everyone is taking advantage of plastic surgery for liposuction, Botox, breast implants, and many more superficial procedures. People are looking for an easy transformation to an underlying problem. The changes in usage of plastic surgery, throughout history, are apparent and this trend continues to grow rapidly.