People’s attitudes toward plastic surgery have changed a lot in the last decade – more and more of us are willing to undergo this kind of surgery and openly talk about it. Also, big advances in cosmetic surgery brought faster recovery, and more natural results and benefits. Unlike other types of surgeries, our decision to do it is entirely voluntary and it includes a big number of emotional and social factors.
Some people want plastic surgery to change their facial or body features they are not satisfied with; they want to look younger; they do it under peer or media pressure; or they need a boost to self-esteem. Others want to do it for reconstructive purposes or to solve ongoing health issues (burns, scars, mastectomy, back pain, etc.) In these cases, plastic surgery certainly isn’t a “whim”, but a necessity that significantly improves the quality of life.
The reasons for seeking cosmetic surgery may be rational or irrational, but regardless of the motivation, it’s important to be aware of all the risks that any surgical procedure carries.
Statistics show us that the number of people who undergo cosmetic surgery is increasing dramatically. According to the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons, more than 50,000 procedures were performed in 2013 in the UK alone, which is a 17% rise compared to 2012. These numbers are not surprising since this field of medicine has undergone big changes – technologically and conceptually. However, the influence that the mass-media have on shaping our body image can’t be overlooked.
One research survey analysed factors that make people opt for cosmetic surgery. This survey asked participants to assess their attitudes toward cosmetic surgery and tried to correlate them with a number of participant traits and habits (self-esteem, life satisfaction, physical attractiveness, media consumption and religiosity). Women with little religious beliefs, low self-esteem and life satisfaction, who considered themselves less attractive and reported they were heavy TV watchers had a greater likelihood of undergoing cosmetic surgery.
Most cosmetic surgery procedures are performed under general anesthesia and they carry risks just like other types of surgeries – hemorrhaging, numbness, infections, necrosis and even death. Therefore, there’s no reason to take it lightly as many things can go wrong. Unfortunately, most people choose to ignore this fact, especially those who schedule surgery after surgery. Sometimes, even one operation can go wrong due to a surgeon’s negligence or patient’s bad health, so it’s important to make sure your surgeon is a professional so he/she can balance the risk to benefit ratio.
What is your reason? Before you schedule an appointment with a plastic surgeon, always ask yourself the following questions and be honest in answering them. What feature do you want to change and more importantly – why? Is it your long-term wish or did it come to you on a whim? Did someone influence you or you are doing it for yourself? What do you expect from it and can you imagine yourself and your life after the surgery?
A good surgeon will always discuss any questions you may have and your motivation without trying to persuade you into surgery as soon as possible. If you simply want to delay the aging process or change a body part you never liked, get rid of a health issue or regain self-esteem – there’s nothing irrational about it. On the other hand, doing it just to please your partner or expecting that your whole life will be changed would be wrong reasons to undergo surgery and it would be wise to reconsider your decision.
It’s important to know that plastic surgery won’t change your whole life. It has multiple benefits but only for those who have realistic expectations – it may improve your self-confidence and well-being but it won't make all your personal problems go away. Only if you know why you want to do it, if you set realistic expectations and talk honestly with your surgeon about your plans – you may achieve satisfaction and get the best out of your surgical procedure.