Plastic surgery refers to a range of surgical procedures to restore (reconstructive surgery) or reshape (as in the case of cosmetic surgery) the form of a body part.
While the term is commonly associated with procedures that beautify one’s looks and physique, it is inclusive of a wide range of surgical solutions to reconstruct features lost or damaged such as by accidents and disease, craniofacial surgery to address congenital deformities, treat burns, and many other applications.
Whether one is deciding to undergo plastic surgery for beauty or medical purposes, it is a decision that cannot be made lightly or on impulse; the potential risks and rewards should always be carefully weighed with accurate information.
Social and Psychological Risks
While plastic surgery is a physical event, it is fraught with psychological flashpoints that can leave emotional scars even if the surgery does not. Before you make your decision, you must address some self-introspective questions.
How will you feel if your surgery makes you into a gossip topic among your family, friends, colleagues, school mates etc.? How will you deal with your partner if he/she shows signs of insecurity due to your new appearance? What if the surgery becomes a source of inadequacy and self-consciousness, making you feel that you are still not good enough?
Potential negative effects of social and psychological nature such as these arising from undergoing/having undergone plastic surgery are highly dependent on your pre-op expectations, mental state and emotional condition. It is crucial that you understand that although such surgeries can yield positive results, it may not fundamentally change your life, deal with the problems you face or resolve relationship issues. You must also realise that physical perfection is unattainable; as the 18th-century Scottish economist, Adam Smith said, human wants are unlimited.
For some, plastic surgery is seen as an opportune solution to correct a perceived flaw. If you have a strong belief that you would be much more beautiful if only you could get your “imperfections” fixed, you may be suffering from body dysmorphic disorder (BDD).
A person with BDD places an unhealthy, even dangerous, obsession on a perceived flaw in his/her body. BDD affects between 1.7% and 2.4% of people of both sexes equally and tends to start during one’s adolescent years, and has been well-known to affect even celebrities as much as the common people.
In many cases, BDD sufferers could have gone through many plastic surgeries and still be unhappy with the results or think that more should be done. This causes a negative feedback loop that sends them back to the surgeon to correct the corrected.
If you possess strong and negative perceptions towards your appearance, you are highly urged to consult a doctor or psychologist before you undertake any surgery.
As with any medical procedures, plastic surgeries carry risks, such as scarring, disfigurement, infection, allergic reactions and even nerve damage. Although the severe issues resulting from it are rare, it is still a possibility and a reality.
Each kind of surgery carries its own specific risks on top of the common ones. Such risks include:
- Bacterial or viral infections
- Excessive or unnatural bleeding
- Blood clots
- Necrosis, or tissue death
- Impaired self-healing
- Anaesthesia risks (shock, allergic reactions, cardio-respiratory failure, coma, death)
- Nerve damage resulting in an impaired sense of touch or paralysis
- Dissatisfaction with results and needing corrective surgeries
You will need to note that no surgery guarantees 100% success and its results can be subjective. Any less-than-satisfactory results can dishearten you or even devastate you further. Worse still, a botched surgery can leave you with pain, tissue damage or worse.
Weighing Repercussion and Rewards
Plastic surgery can yield good results, leading to increased self-esteem, confidence, relieve anxiety, promote social interaction, present new opportunities and improve quality of life. For those who needed such surgery for medical purposes especially, such as survivors of breast cancer, accidents, malicious attacks etc., the results can not only be beneficial on the superficial level but can also uplift a person’s life.
Otherwise, for those who do it purely for improving looks, the rewards are based very much on the individual. While there are patients who say they could have had it sooner, many also regretted having embarked on it at all.
If You Really Want to Do It
Deciding to do plastic surgery requires a lot of homework, scrutiny of information and disciplined consideration. Price should not be your main deciding factor. Instead, credentials, references, expertise and integrity are what you should be looking out for before deciding on the whom, where and how.
Do not ever agree to surgery without regard for your health, and be without a shadow of a doubt that surgeries carry various risks with some being severe. Do not let other people talk you into it but you should have a good and balanced discoursed with people who matter and are wise.