By Diane Small
Over inflated lips. Airbag boobs. Kardashian butts. No wonder plastic surgery has had a bad rap lately. We’ve been subjected to endless images of bad celebrity cosmetic surgeries and sensationalising big budget drama series which exploit the weird, unnerving, and cartoonishly sexy in its representation of this branch of medicine. But in fact, plastic surgery can actually change people’s lives.
In reality, plastic surgery can be a force for good! Many people who opt for cosmetic surgery do so for many more reasons than these media simplifications would suggest – and many of those reasons are more related to mental and physical wellbeing.
Serious weight loss
Losing ten pounds is a doddle. It only takes a few weeks of discipline, and voila. But if you’re trying to lose 100 pounds, as some Americans are these days – well, you may need some help.
Obesity is a serious problem that’s growing in most developed countries, and it can strain internal organs, accelerate the aging process, and cut years off your life. “Some research even suggests that it speeds up the clock more than smoking,” says board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Jordan P. Farkas, MD. “Scientists at the St Thomas’ Hospital in London, UK recently shared the results of a study that claims the difference between being obese and being lean corresponds to 8.8 years of extra aging,” he continues.
For this reason, gastric band surgery is growing in popularity amongst those who simply cannot lose weight, no matter how hard they try. It’s usually combined with psychological and physical therapies to help the patient understand why they gained so much weight in the first place, and how to keep it off permanently.
Self image in the Instagram age
As the myriad of people taking selfies on every damn street corner, bar, beach and cafe attests to, clearly, we live in a society where appearance matters. So it’s harder and harder for people to accept their appearance if they have a wee flaw, like ears that stick out, a very large nose, or a very flat chest. Personally, I think we need to accept ourselves as we are and highlight our best attributes and downplay what we don’t like, but studies suggest that people who choose cosmetic surgery to ‘improve’ their looks say that their choice has changed their lives for the best.
This may surprise you, but people who walk into a cosmetic surgeon’s office for the first time do so because they’ve had an accident, injury, past birth defect, or disfigurement from a disease like cancer. No one would argue such patients’ lives are completely turned around after getting reconstructive surgery. For thousands of these patients, we should all be thankful that cosmetic surgery has developed to its current level of sophistication.
Going under the knife is never something to be taken lightly. There are lots of risks – like blood clots and infections – that should be taken into consideration, and yes, it’s rather amazing that people would take such risks for something as silly as sheer vanity. But let’s not diss cosmetic surgery completely. For a lot of people, it’s the answer to many real problems that can impact their health, longevity and self esteem.