Plastic surgery is not just for the rich and famous, although it seems more and more if you are rich, and in the spotlight, you’ve “had work done.” The tabloids LOVE it when a celebrity gets work done. “OMG did you notice that Cameron Diaz has less smile lines around her eyes?“
But the practice of altering one’s appearance is only one aspect of plastic surgery.
“Plastic” does not refer to the substance used in manufacturing toys. If you have plastic surgery, you will not end up having any foreign substances in your body (with the exception of augmentation). The word refers to its origins. The Greek plastikos means to form or to mold – in other words, to change.
Before we get into the reasons people give, I have categorized the types of plastic surgery into reconstructive and cosmetic; there’s a bit of overlap, as some reconstructive surgeries can be considered cosmetic and vice versa.
Reconstructive or Reconstructive/Cosmetic?
1. Accidents can leave people scarred or deformed. Car wrecks, workplace mishaps, lab experiments gone wrong, falling, animal bites, burns, sports, etc. can wreak havoc on the body and sometimes both reconstructive and cosmetic surgery is necessary.
2. Birth defects and birthmarks such as cleft lips, ear deformities and skeletal deformities can cause severe physical and emotional handicaps. Reconstructive surgery – often a series of surgeries done as the person grows – corrects birth defects and restores normal functioning and appearance.
3. Cancer. Reconstructive breast surgery is common among women who have undergone a mastectomy. Although the procedure is not necessary from a medical standpoint, it helps ease psychological trauma.
Cosmetic or Reconstructive/Cosmetic?
1. Massive weight loss. A person who has lost a huge amount of weight quickly will have a lot of excess skin that refuses to shrink. Removing the excess skin is a way to correct the appearance of the damage caused by obesity.
2. Vanity/Self esteem/Self-image. People love to judge others for getting cosmetic surgery. This is a fine line… there’s really no difference between altering one’s appearance using makeup, fake nails, fake eyelashes and using more permanent methods like plastic surgery. If it makes you happy and it doesn’t hurt anyone, there’s nothing wrong with it. Boob jobs, nose jobs, tummy tucks and butt lifts may seem frivolous to some but can make all the difference in the world to someone who suddenly feels beautiful – or handsome – many men get “work” done too!
Non-surgical cosmetic procedures like laser hair removal, skin sanding/laser peels to remove scarring, lasers to remove birthmarks and using Botox to relax certain facial muscles also fall under “self-improvement through medical procedures”.
Not all women want to go bigger. Some are blessed, or cursed, depending on their point of view, with an overabundance of breast tissue. This can cause pain, deep shoulder ruts from bra straps digging in and inability to participate in sports. In some cases it’s medically warranted, in others it’s vanity. Even men get breast reductions. Moobs are out! Add or subtract, the ultimate objective is to make a person happy and able to function in life the way they want.
Plastic Surgery Controversy
One area of controversy surrounding plastic surgery is an increased use among teens. Some want birthmarks removed; others hate their noses and others are severely scarred from acne. Breast augmentation is usually not allowed until a woman is over 18, and procedures such as nose jobs need to wait until the person has stopped growing (late teens). Doctors screen teens to be sure the teen is mature and responsible enough to undergo the surgery and that they’re doing it for the right reasons (looking like their favorite movie star is not accepted as a reason).
“Why I did it” surveys vary by demographic. Hollywood stars will tell you that it’s an essential career move while anyone who has had a severe accident will tell you that it’s for health reasons. In no particular order, the Top 10 reasons are:
1. Turn back the hands of time
2. Look like a beauty, not a beast
3. Look smokin’ hot (sometimes like a person one admires)
4. Erase mistakes (like scars due to an overzealous sense of immortality)
5. Get rid of too much “me”
6. Make more of “me” in the right places
7. To make my partner happy (WRONG REASON!!!)
8. To fix what’s broken (reconstructive surgery)
9. To make sex better (because I’ll look and feel sexier)
10. To be happy with my looks (comfortable in my own skin)
Whatever your reasons, weigh the options carefully, realize that any surgery presents risks, and that the results may cover up a bigger problem. Definitely do not have plastic surgery to please your partner. You are who you are, not a clay model for someone to play with. Respect yourself and be true to who you are.
If plastic surgery will make you feel like a beauty and not a beast and you feel in your heart that it’s the right course of action, then do your research, find a reputable surgeon and let the transformations begin!