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Time Magazine Covers Plastic Surgery

Posted in Plastic Surgery

The recent cover article in Time magazine, “Nip. Tuck. Or Else.”, highlights the growing trend of plastic surgery in the United States.  The article brings up several interesting points about the current attitudes toward plastic surgery in this country. To start, it mentions that up until recently, when someone had plastic surgery, they would not talk about it or only mention it in close, closed quarters.  In recent years, people have become more open about whether they have had plastic surgery.  Indeed, this is something that I have observed within my own practice as well as when I am out in social situations.  Even when I meet people for the first time, and they don’t know that I am a plastic surgeon, inevitably, the topic of plastic surgery comes up (I do live in Los Angeles, after all!).  People are more open to revealing that they have had work done.

Plastic surgery is definitely on the rise in this country, and the recent statistics from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons confirm this. Almost $13 billion was spent on cosmetic surgery last year. The number of non-invasive procedures is increasing, and it is common for people to spend their lunch break having injectables done before heading back to work. No longer is cosmetic surgery an item of exclusivity. A growing number of men and women are getting work done simply because they are able to.

The author of the article states that getting plastic surgery is like getting your hair done or putting on makeup.  Certainly, most people want to try and look their best. And while I can appreciate the author’s correlation between Botox, for example, and getting a haircut, I disagree with his assertion that having an invasive procedure is akin to putting on makeup. Having surgery carries risks, some of which can be serious.  To my knowledge, I am unaware of any risks of applying makeup to your skin or from getting a haircut.

Although the author makes numerous allusions to the reason why people get plastic surgery is because of vanity, I must disagree with this assertion. In my practice, I feel that most people get plastic surgery simply because they want to change something about themselves that bothers them.  Sometimes things cannot be corrected through diet or exercise. Some things are genetic as well, or due to life circumstances such as child-bearing. This is not vanity. This is about the desire to change your outward appearance to match how you feel on the inside.  It is about positively impacting your life.  Most people, in my experience, do not want to drastically alter their appearance.  They are reasonable people with realistic expectations and attainable goals.  Not everyone wants the “porn star” look!

The underlying theme that permeates the article is that, inevitably, you will get plastic surgery because your friends and neighbors are getting work done.   Yes, it is true that the majority of my patients are referred by very satisfied former patients.  However, I do not think that people follow the herd mentality and get plastic surgery just because everyone else they know does.  People get plastic surgery to feel good about themselves, to restore their body to what it used to be and to look refreshed and rejuvenated.  Plastic surgery is a very personal decision, and people get it done because it fulfills their personal needs.  If you are considering plastic surgery, please do yourself a huge favor and seek consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon (read my article “Choosing a plastic surgeon” for helpful advice).  Above all, feel good about your decision!

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