If you don’t like the way your thighs jiggle or your eyelids droop; if you want the skin of a 20-year-old, the cheekbones of a super model or the pectoral muscles of a weight lifter, they’re yours — for a price. In the past two years alone, over a million Americans ages 16 to 96 have been lasered, peeled, suctioned, and reshaped. But to what end?
While a cosmetic surgery procedure may boost self-confidence for some, for others the desire for a change in appearance may signal a deeper dissatisfaction with themselves that cannot be mended by a nip or tuck.
The idea that a different nose or a wrinkle-free forehead can change your lifestyle is tempting. Our culture strongly associates beauty with health and happiness (though in fact there is little to back up this belief), and a wide variety of cosmetic surgery options, providers, and payment plans makes it easier than ever before to “change your appearance overnight.”
According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), plastic surgery procedures generally fall into one of two categories — cosmetic or reconstructive. Cosmetic surgery is performed to reshape normal structures of the body in order to improve the patient’s appearance. Reconstructive surgery is performed on abnormal structures of the body, caused by congenital defects, developmental abnormalities, trauma, infection, tumors or disease.
Commonly performed cosmetic procedures include face lifts, eyelid lifts, breast enlargement, body contouring, and liposuction, as well as non-invasive procedures like laser resurfacing, botox injections, and the power peel. Reconstructive surgery includes such procedures as correction of congenital anomalies (such as cleft lip and palate), reconstruction following various types of cancer treatment, burn care and trauma care.
Because certification by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS) is considered the gold standard for cosmetic as well as reconstructive surgery, this program refers to plastic surgeons rather than cosmetic surgeons.
The information on the different procedures can help you decide whether cosmetic surgery will really widen your smile or only deepen the worry lines in your forehead. Take a good look, learn about the different procedures out there, determine whether you are a good candidate for surgery, and learn how to find a qualified physician. Then go ahead and make a healthy decision.