Cosmetic Surgery

August 16, 2011

Cosmetic surgery (also called plastic surgery) is used both to correct true deformities and improve undesirable appearances. In our culture, there is a tremendous emphasis placed on our personal appearance, both in the workforce and in social situations. Television and magazines play a large role in this by showing mostly young, thin people who do not have sagging skin or unpleasant features. No one ever sees a person with “saddle bags” on the cover of a fashion magazine. This could be one of the major reasons why people seek plastic surgery. Both men and women feel the pressure to look their best, and more men are seeking plastic surgery because of this very fact.

Another reason to consider plastic surgery is selfconsciousness about a certain part of the body (e.g., a large nose) that may have been a source of ridicule in childhood. For some people, dislike of a body feature causes real distress and is a constant source of selfconsciousness during daily life. How we feel about ourselves affects how we relate to others. However, some people with great looks have a poor self-image, and many people who might be considered homely are perfectly satisfied with their appearance.

Individuals with realistic expectations are more likely to be satisfied with the results of cosmetic surgery. Not every real or imagined cosmetic flaw can be corrected. one should not undergo cosmetic surgery just to please someone else. Cosmetic surgery can help with one’s self-image and allow healthy self-confidence to flourish, but surgery will not automatically improve one’s social life and will not correct any psychological problems that may exist. When there is a question of an underlying emotional or psychological problem, a psychological evaluation may be suggested prior to surgery.

Finding a good plastic surgeon is extremely important. The choice of surgeon can be the most important step in the entire process. Look for a physician who is board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS). If the plastic surgeon is “board eligible,” it means that he/she has completed education, but is yet to take the board examination. The surgeon should also belong to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), which has stringent rules for membership. ASPS has a website with a wealth of information regarding plastic surgery. In addition, a lot of the plastic surgeons have their own webpage, which can educate you about that particular person. Developing confidence in your plastic surgeon is very important. You may be able to speak to one of his or her patients. Asking other patients about your surgeon can provide very valuable information. Insurance policies often do not cover cosmetic surgery, so checking with your insurer is very important as well.

Every surgical procedure carries some risk, including infection, a poor cosmetic result, scarring, and, very rarely, death. These risks are very small, but one should carefully consider the risks and benefits before undergoing any procedure. Undergoing cosmetic surgery involves a large commitment on the part of both the patient and the physician. One should carefully consider the options before making this decision.

SEE ALSO: Body image, Liposuction

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