In a society focused on looks one may hastily consider cosmetic surgery to fix an abnormal nose or shed a few unwanted pounds. Is it worth it? What are the risks versus rewards? In this essay I will explore the pros as well as the cons of cosmetic surgery because as with many choices in life, there are many risks as well as rewards. Cosmetic surgery originated in ancient India, but became more prominent starting with the First World War. Medical professionals started exploring new techniques to treat wounded and disfigured men maimed by the war.
Today plastic surgery consists of two types: reconstructive plastic surgery and cosmetic plastic surgery. Reconstructive surgery is just what it sounds like; reconstructing a part of the body that is abnormal due to a birth defect or injury. Cosmetic plastic surgery, which is what will be discussed in this essay, is surgery that is performed on parts of the body that are already normal. In other words, it is surgery that is performed, strictly to improve a structure of the body. With the prospect of having those perfect breasts or washboard tummy, what could possibly hinder one from going under the knife?
There are quite a few risks as well as deterring factors to think about; such as a patient’s current health condition, recovery, infection and lastly cosmetic surgery addiction. People who have current heart conditions, diabetes or are overweight are at the greatest risk. Patients must have a full medical checkup prior to pursuing cosmetic surgery. The “tummy tuck” is regarded by surgeons as the most dangerous procedure because such invasive operations carry the risk of stokes, bleeding and post-operative complications. Incidentally, this is the most requested procedure among high risk patients.
(Cosmetic Surgery in the Spotlight Again, 2007). What happens when a surgery goes wrong and there are undesired effects? Bad plastic surgery can happen in any cosmetic surgery procedure. Some are simple to fix and others can be impossible. A facial lift can be too tight causing asymmetry and tightness. As a result, patients can lose mobility in their faces because of damaged nerves. (Bad Plastic Surgery, Board Certified Plastic Surgery Resource, 2008). Bad plastic surgery not only leaves permanent physical scars, but emotional as well.
Another risk of bad cosmetic surgery is infection. An incision is made in a certain part of a body, which can sometimes cause a reaction. Something may have moved through the incision or the body area doesn’t react naturally. Infection is very painful and sometimes requires more surgery. It is very important to choose a surgeon wisely. Be sure to screen each chosen surgeon. It is also essential to select a surgeon that is a board certified plastic surgeon (Cosmetic Surgery in the Spotlight Again, 2007). Recovery from cosmetic surgery can be a long and painful process.
Recovery can take days, weeks or months. This is all depending on the procedure. During recovery time swelling and bruising are expected as well as a great deal of pain. Post-Operative patients are to limit themselves in activity. Everyday day tasks such as cooking and going to work are prohibited. Planning ahead is recommended. Patients should prepare themselves before surgery and resolve household issues that can go along with the inability to tend to a house; this can be quite an inconvenience. Coping with the recovery process, can also lead to mood swings and depression.
Another serious problem with cosmetic surgery is the addiction it may lead to. This condition is called, BDD, or body dimorphic disorder. Dr. Sydney Coleman says about this disorder, “BDD manifests as a preoccupation with an imagined physical defect or an exaggerated concern about a minimal defect. ” (Coleman, Plastic Surgery Addiction, 2007). Many celebrities are shinning examples of BDD, such as Michael Jackson and Joan Rivers. No matter how much cosmetic surgery a patient receives; he or she will seldom be happy with the results because mentally he or she still sees themselves as flawed.
On the other hand the benefits of cosmetic surgery are rewarding enough for millions of people everyday to undergo cosmetic surgery despite the risks. In 2006 there were a recorded 11 million cosmetic surgery procedures preformed (American Society of Plastic Surgeons, 2007). While minimally- invasive cosmetic procedures such as chemical peel and laser hair removal were at a whopping 9. 1 million in 2006 (American Society of Plastic Surgeons, 2007). Of course the most obvious benefit the improvement of appearance which leads to improved self- esteem.
Just the slightest change on the outside can lead to a wonderful change on the inside, causing self- esteem to flourish. Emotionally, when a person feels more confident with his, or her outside appearance, that person is more likely to enjoy life more and gain the confidence to change other aspects of his, or her life. This may be looking for a new job, dating or simply becoming more social. “As long as (the patient) has realistic ideas of the outcome, it’s helpful on many levels. ” (Wright, More Choose Plastic Surgery Despite Risks, 2005).
Long gone is the stereo type that only older wealthy woman are plastic surgery patients; “The American Society of Plastic Surgeons found that 71% of people surveyed who were considering plastic surgery had annual household incomes that were less than $60,000 and 64% of these people were under the age of 50. “ (American Society of Plastic Surgeons, Moore Choose Plastic Surgery despite the Risks, 2005). Because of an increase in technology more procedures are preformed in outpatient facilities. This makes many surgeries more affordable. Shows like “Nip/Tuck” and “Doctor 90210” are making cosmetic surgery more popular than ever.
It also is giving people the perception that these surgeries are low risk and common. When making a life changing decision, such as cosmetic surgery, one must weight out the possible risks as well as the benefits. Although this surgery is for aesthetic purposes, it is still, in fact, a major surgery and should not be taken lightly. Do research to find the right surgeon as well as what to expect before and after the surgery. Arrange for a full medical examination to determine if cosmetic surgery will be safe. Cosmetic surgery just may be the best thing you ever did.