The Growing Popularity of Cosmetic Surgery

1 January 2017

With the convenience of non-invasive procedures and more accessible costs, women, and increasingly men, are drawn to go through surgical procedures for aesthetic purposes.? However, can cosmetic surgeons always guarantee you a successful result?? Are you prepared to bear the risk of any surgical failure?? Over the past few decades, cosmetic surgery has already gained mainstream acceptance, particularly in well-developed countries, such as the United States, Japan and South Korea.? It is thought to be a miracle to fulfill perfection.? Such fallacies have overlooked the negative impacts of cosmetic surgery have on patients.?

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This paper aims to explore the phenomenon of cosmetic surgery and its consequences.? It will first analyze the reasons for plastic surgery, and then discuss the physical and psychological risks associated with it. The popularity of plastic surgery has been growing at a staggering rate.? According to statistics released by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), there were 13. 1 million of cosmetic procedures performed in the United States in 2010 (American Society of Plastic Surgeon, 2011).?

Unlike reconstructive plastic surgery, which is performed on abnormal body parts caused by birth defects, injuries and diseases, cosmetic surgery aims to improve appearance and self-esteem by reshaping the normal structures of the body.? Some popular cosmetic procedures include liposuction, breast augmentation, rhinoplasty and botox treatment. Reasons for Cosmetic Surgery Generally, there are three reasons why people opt for cosmetic surgery. The first reason to motivate people to undergo surgical makeovers is their body-image dissatisfaction.?

These people often have poor self-confidence and self-image, or being too obsessed with their physical appearance.? They wish to get rid of their imperfections and look more attractive by enhancing physical features.? For example, getting a liposuction to remove fat, having a botox treatment or facelift to remove wrinkles caused by aging. Another reason why people seek cosmetic surgery is to boost job prospects.? Holding other things such as job experience and academic qualifications constant, a good-looking candidate usually gives employers a good impression.?

Particularly, modeling and service industry jobs like sales and flight attendants require a pleasant appearance.? In Hong Kong, University graduates are spending thousands of US dollars on surgical procedures, in their quest for the desirable jobs (The Harley Medical Group, 2011).? The reason behind is that a good-looking appearance may not guarantee you a job, however, it somehow enhances one’s competitiveness and gives them an edge in the workplace, thus better job prospects.

The influence by mainstream media and celebrities is also a major contributing factor of the rising demand for cosmetic surgery.? There are various forms of media regarding cosmetic procedures, such as newspapers, magazines, advertisement, reality TV shows like Dr. 90210 and Extreme Makeover.? Not only do they convey the unrealistic and narrow standards of beauty, they also exaggerate the likelihood of positive outcomes, encouraging people to undergo surgical makeovers.? A study shows that four out of five patients who are seeking first-time cosmetic surgery reveal that they are convinced by plastic surgery reality TV shows (Rajashri, 2008).?

Without any government interference or legislation, the cosmetic industry has mushroomed.? This leads to general public being targeted by highly visible advertising for cosmetic surgery services (Lusted, 2009). In addition to mainstream media, people go for cosmetic surgery due to celebrities influence.? Some celebrities admitted to having cosmetic procedures done like Michael Jackson and Tara Reid.? They set an example for their fans to follow, especially the younger generation, conveying a message that outer beauty is more important and can win success and admiration (Seoul Style, 2009).

There are positive impacts that cosmetic surgery may bring.? A study by Sarwer, an associate professor of psychology, showed that 87 percent of patients are satisfied with their surgery.? They showed improvements in their overall body image, self-confidence, social lives, sex lives and interpersonal relationships (Melissa, 2005).? Therefore, cosmetic surgery helps enhance quality of life for those who are born with birth defects, or who are simply unhappy with their body image.

Negative Impacts of Cosmetic Surgery All surgical procedures take risk.? Dangers and undesirable results remain a possibility. Physically, complications may happen on patients.? Surgery holds risks ranging from wound infections, bleeding, scarring and skin irritation.? Patients will also come across some discomfort, including normal bruising, swelling and pain.? Other complications like damages to tissue, muscle, nerve or organs, and disfigurement are possible (Justin, 2009).? The damage will be permanent and it will be impossible to remove it completely.?

More seriously, cosmetic surgery can be life-threatening and even deadly too.? Wang Bei, a former contestant on Super Girl, died on November 15, 2010 during ‘facial bone-grinding surgery (South China Morning Post, 2010).? It is clear that cosmetic surgery would definitely jeopardize the patients’ health, and is a total disregard of the human body as a holistic, organic component. Psychologically, once unexpected results do occur, they will create emotional distress for the patients.?

The operation lies heavily on the skill of the surgeon.? However, there is a huge discrepancy in the quality of cosmetic service.? Even the best qualified surgeon cannot offer you a risk-free surgery nor guaranteed results.? A research on patients’ psychological and psychosocial functioning before and after cosmetic surgery (Melissa, 2005), found that patients who are dissatisfied with surgery may experience depression and adjustment problems, social isolation, family problems, self-destructive behaviors and anger towards the surgeon.?

The researcher also found that patients may seek multiple unnecessary cosmetic procedures due to cosmetic surgery addition.? This is known as Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD).? After receiving repeated procedures, the patients are often left with an unnatural appearance or poor surgical outcomes.? Since changes are usually irreversible, the undesirable results may in turn bring emotional distress to the patients, creating a vicious cycle.

This essay has discussed the reasons for cosmetic surgery and its impacts on patients. Though there are positive impacts of cosmetic surgery, it is evident that the dangers of cosmetic surgery outweigh its advantages.? We should not resort to the surgeon’s knife in the quest for beauty and perfection.? There are more important things in life that deserve greater concerns, such as family love, friendship, health. Remember a good-looking appearance would not win you more recognition and admiration.? It is our personality that truly matters.

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