Home > Uncategorized > The Face of A Generation

The Face of A Generation

                I’ve been recently thinking about people’s motives for receiving plastic surgery. While it is true that many people seek the assistance of plastic surgeons for serious physical deformity, whether for burn repair or breast reconstruction after cancer, it seems like the vast majority of people seek out plastic surgeons for more superficial needs. Wiping away wrinkles and creases, smoothing down fat or taking it away all together, most people go in for non-invasive treatment to boost their self esteem and make them appear younger. It’s purely superficial and entirely for appearance sake, but there’s nothing inherently wrong with it. If a few dermal fillers is all it takes to make people more confident about themselves, then by all means they should go for it. It simply concerns me that this fairly recent trend of commercial plastic surgery, within the last two decades or so, is taking away from what people should be focused on to improve themselves.

             Now I am a firm believer that a person has the right to do whatever they want with their body, so long as it does not harm or intentionally insult others. However, I do feel that in many cases plastic surgery is more of a short cut that lets people bypass better life choices in favor of looking good with less effort. People who are morbidly obese and receive liposuction and fat removal completely disregard the needs of their body in favor of improving it’s appearance, which does nothing to improve the state of their internal organs. Besides allowing people to mask their bodies’ problems, most non-invasive plastic surgery requires the injection of toxins and synthetic fat/carbohydrate combinations to fill out lines and wrinkles. The most common type of botox used by plastic surgeons around the country (Botulinum A Toxin) is not approved by the FDA for the removal of wrinkles and lines. Now, while the FDA is far from perfect, and my feelings for it are best saved for a different rant, its purpose is to care for the health and well being of the general populace. This entire organization can be bypassed by simply signing a consent form and the appropriate notices that come with it. It’s almost funny that an entire organization can be rendered useless by a single sheet of paper. I suppose my question is , is there a point where people should be denied plastic surgery for their well-being or should they simply be held accountable for their actions, by their own bodies?

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. February 16, 2012 at 1:09 am

    I don’t know the first thing about plastic surgery, but from the information you’ve presented, I see no reason why it should be denied to anyone. You say that one chemical is not approved by the FDA, but you don’t identify any real danger in it. Unless, of course, you truly mean to suggest that we should deny plastic surgery to the morbidly obese because they are “ignoring the real problems with their bodies.” Surely that’s not what you mean, though.

  2. February 16, 2012 at 2:25 am

    Ah perhaps I should be more clear. I don’t mean that people with morbid obesity should be denied surgery, simply because of this condition alone. What I am saying is, the surgery required to fix this only occurs on the surface layer. While fat and excess tissue are removed, the stress on all the other organs remains, potentially masking other health issues. As for my comment about that type of botox, I was indicating that even the safest most commonly used treatment is still unapproved by the FDA. In order to remove wrinkles the botulinum toxin in botox needs to paralyze the affected area by weakening local muscles. There are many different brands of chemical and dermal fillers, and while they each have their own testing process, the lesser FDA scrutiny combined with increased patient accountability from consent forms leads to questionably safe products. This allows less reputable plastic surgery offices to offer lesser quality treatment with higher risk to the patient, without much risk to their practice. I misspoke when I used the word “denied”. I rather meant that is there a point where the office should advise against having a procedure. Meaning, even if it would be fine in the short term, is there a point where the office should refuse surgery due to possible long term complications, an in office conscience clause. Something like having a surgical coordinator/counselor who did more than simply organize the schedule, or an office policy waiver.

  3. DM
    February 16, 2012 at 8:08 pm

    Going into plastic surgery, it’s the patients duty to make sure they are comfortable and knowledgable on the procedure. Obviously, if for cosmetic reasons, they are choosing to have this done. In a perfect world, doctors would advise against incessant and unnecessary plastic surgeries, but we don’t live in a perfect world. And as far as obese people getting surgery and neglecting the needs of their bodies, there is a point where exercise becomes almost impossible at a certain weight. Oftentimes, obese people get surgery so that they can start an exercise regiment.

    I don’t agree with cosmetic plastic surgery for beauty reasons, but I don’t think it’s anyone’s place to tell them whether or not they can get it. If someone is willing to risk their health, and is willing to pay for it, then that’s fine with me. The doctors and offices are working for a profit, and it’s always going to be that way. People should go into those doctor’s appointments and consultations prepared to ask straight forward questions about the benefits and risks.

  4. February 19, 2012 at 10:00 pm

    I completely agree- the patient should do their ‘homework’ and decide whether the procedure is worth the risk, and if it does happen to go wrong, then they are held accountable. Although it’s unfortunate that people seem to overdue cosmetic surgeries so they can be the “ideal” person, I don’t think anyone has the right to say that they can’t get what they want done. When it comes to necessary surgeries, the doctors definitely should point out the complications that my happen in the future, but if they are truly set on getting the surgery done, then that is their personal decision. I do agree that plastic surgery is the easy way out for doing an alternative option, but I don’t think anything can really be done about that.

  5. February 21, 2012 at 10:07 pm

    I am up in the air when it comes to the topic of plastic surgery. On one hand, I think it can be helpful in certain cases. For example, my dad’s side of the family is 100% Lebanese, with the most obvious phsyical feature being their noses. Both of my dad’s sisters had nose jobs after high school because the feature was simply unflattering on their otherwise small bodies. When I was born, my mother was concerned I would be “cursed” with this gene as well (her first words after I was born were “who’s nose does she have?”). Thankfully, I was not. But if I had been, I’m sure I would have wanted to have the choice to alter it.
    This is where my opposition comes in. I support having the choice to get plastic surgery if you want it. What I don’t support are cases in which plastic surgery is used as a tool to “enhance” a person for another’s benefit. Instances in which girls get lyposuction or boob jobs to appeal to modeling or acting agencies; or in which parents give their children botox to better compete in pagents or commercials (yes, cases of this were reported on children as young as 6). Plastic surgery should be a personal choice, not one used because of the pressures of society.

    • February 26, 2012 at 11:54 pm

      I think that all of you (DM, neharJ, and klazar7) would be fairly surprised and disappointed in the number of people who do not research the procedure they want done, or simply come in with a photo of a famous actor or actress, and said, “Make me look like that.” I exaggerate of course, but most people do not really take the time to understand what will happen to them. I agree it is the doctors responsibility to inform them of all risks that are involved in having plastic surgery, but I think more people need to be mindful of what a plastic surgeon can realistically do for them.

      You all rose points about how you disagree with plastic surgery that is done in order to alleviate societal pressure, and I agree. It is terrible that people can be made uncomfortable enough with themselves that they would pay thousands of dollars for surgery. I don’t think minor stylistic changes, like eyebrow lifts, or nose jobs, as klazar7 mentioned are that big of an issue, but larger things like breast augmentation or blepharoplasties (eyelid alteration) are treatments that I personally believe are only necessary in extreme cases. Honestly I think the best thing that we can do in that regard is to encourage others that they do not need such procedures, and promote less invasive options if they really are more adamant.

  6. February 24, 2012 at 2:25 pm

    I agree with many of you that plastic surgery is ultimately a personal choice, and that they choose it for a variety of reasons both cosmetic and medical. However, I do not believe that plastic surgeons should be using products or procedures that are not approved by the FDA. Although potential patients are supposed to do their homework and come to their appointments with questions about the procedure, some do not, and lack of knowledge of the procedure they want to do can have consequences for them later on. The surgeon should review a patient’s history and recommend other options, but if the patient chooses to continue on with a surgery they were recommended against it is the patient’s responsibility to deal with the consequences.

    • February 26, 2012 at 11:12 pm

      In all honesty if a plastic surgery office were only to use products and procedures that were 100% approved by the FDA, they would go out of business rather quickly. The reason for this is that since most of these products are for cosmetic use, any possible negative outcome would make it immediately suspect, since the FDA does not consider cosmetic enhancement a benefit to outweigh any risk. There have been thousands of Botox injections administered at my office, with some patients having better results than others, but we have never had any serious complications arise from them. However there is probably a percentage of the population that when given a specific type of Botox could have a severe negative reaction. While the chances of such a reaction are ameliorated by training and careful observation of medical history and make it a logistically reasonable solution, it still gives one pause. At least I hope so.

  7. anthonypribadi
    February 24, 2012 at 11:41 pm

    Talking about plastic surgeries, I suddenly remember what a friend of mine said some time ago. She said that in South Korea (or maybe Japan or some other country if I am mistaken) the girls get their plastic surgeries soon after their 17th (or 18th) birthday. It is like the parents’ present for them. Every girl in the town does that. It is a cultural thing. Wow! I was so surprised and couldn’t believe that when I heard that. Still yet to be clarified to any Korean, but it may be true if my friend was not telling lie to me (which is unlikely actually).

    I also have read somewhere quite a while ago that the demand for plastic surgeries has been increasing significantly over the past several years. This, to me, is a bad and saddening news. Why? Because most of the people do that just to get better look. And some of them already look pretty good to be honest. I really love this song of Bruno Mars which says, “Girl you’re amazing, just the way you are.” I think everyone is unique and is beautiful in their own way. This may sound cliche but it is quite true for me. The problem of why so many people want to do plastic surgery, I think, is the extensive amount of advertisements which basically (if we notice carefully enough) say something like, “Look at you. That’s not good enough! You need this. Buy this. The sooner the better.” They (read: advertisements) always make a want which we don’t actually need. Oh how amazing advertisements are. =(

  8. February 26, 2012 at 11:34 pm

    I have several Korean friends who told me the same thing, that plastic surgery was a cultural thing for them. I was also very shocked by this and asked them why that was, and why their parents would endorse it. They told me that in most cases the plastic surgery that was most commonly sponsored were fairly minor, eyebrow lifts, dermal fillers, etc., and it was considered a minor thing to boost confidence and signify a transition into adulthood. Although my friends could be putting me on as well.

    While it is true that plastic surgery has seen an enormous jump over the last decade or so, I don’t think you need to worry too much about the degradation of self image overly. If you look at the composite data for all cosmetic plastic surgery, yes the results would be horrifying. However that data can be broken down into surgical and non invasive procedures, which is where the good news begins. The non-invasive surgery includes procedures such as laser hair removal and skin tightening. Cosmetic companies have been whipping up new batches of creams and dyes to cover such problems, so the sharp jump in non invasive procedures can be largely attributed to people jumping ship from cosmetics to a longer lasting solution. As for the surgical side, even though a large chunk of the procedures being done are entirely for aesthetic purposes, some are, I think, reasonably necessary. Breast cancer survivors being given the option to have cosmetic surgery after losing one or both breasts or formerly morbidly obese people who have excess skin removed, seem like perfectly reasonable candidates for plastic surgery, despite it being purely aesthetic, since they have gone through so much. While the media certainly plays up how we all need to be prettier, I still retain hope that most people are confident enough in their self-image to disagree.

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