Cosmetic surgery can often be quite a controversial topic, mainly because people assume it’s about vanity and trying to improve appearance. However, cosmetic surgery actually goes way beyond that and I’m hoping this post will help make people more aware of the ‘other side’ of cosmetic surgery.
Cosmetic surgery is often used to aesthetically improve one’s appearance, typically to increase confidence, self-esteem and self-image. Cosmetic surgery is often regarded as an elective form of surgery with no underlying medical necessity, but there are instances in which cosmetic surgery is required to alleviate the symptoms of medical conditions, or to improve one’s appearance after medically required surgeries, something I’d never really considered
1. Reconstructive surgery
Reconstructive surgery is a form of cosmetic surgery; however, as the name suggests, it is a form of surgery that is used to correct patient’s appearance after surgeries or accidents. Reconstructive breast surgery is a well-known example of reconstructive surgery and is typically offered to breast cancer sufferers who have had their breasts removed as part of their cancer treatment. Women who have undergone breast removal surgery often report feeling less feminine and suffer psychological trauma as a result; reconstructive surgery is therefore offered to improve patient’s mental wellbeing and health.
Surgery to repair cleft lips and palates in children is also regarded as a form of cosmetic reconstructive surgery; however, in many cases, the surgery is required not only to improve the child’s appearance, but to enable them to eat and breathe normally. Badly scarred skin can also be operated on to improve its appearance. Although fundamentally cosmetic, surgery to reduce scarring may have the added medical benefit of improving mobility of the affected area; as such, the treatment is often recommended on medical grounds.
2. After weight loss
Individuals who have lost significant amounts of weight are typically left with large quantities of excess, sagging skin. Unlike muscle, the skin cannot be toned and cannot be burned-off like fat with exercise; the only solution is to surgically remove it, particular surgeries like abdominoplasty are often used in these cases, you can see more about them here. Surgery to remove excess skin is clinically regarded as a cosmetic surgery procedure, but it also has a number of health benefits. Carrying around excess skin can continue to put a strain on the body after the weight has been lost; similarly, the skin needs to be oxygenated by the blood, resulting in more capillaries that are not necessarily needed, and additional strain on the heart as it continues to pump excess amounts of unnecessary blood. The surgery is often advocated by mental health professionals on the grounds that carrying large amounts of excess skin is embarrassing and damaging to individual’s mental health.
3. Nose problems
The nose job is one of the most commonly performed cosmetic procedures and is typically carried out to improve the aesthetic appearance and shape of the nose. Rhinoplasty surgery (as it is medically known as) can affect either the tip of the nose, the bridge of the nose, or the nostrils. As well as being carried out for cosmetic purposes, the surgery is sometimes required for medical reasons. Rhinoplasty surgery is often performed to alleviate symptoms of chronic sinus problems such as recurrent sinus infections, dry mouth, breathing problems, and difficulty sleeping. Rhinoplasty that is performed for medical purposes is known as functional rhinoplasty, and typically doesn’t change the external shape of the nose, but endeavours to correct issues within the nose tissue such as sinus cavities. Rhinoplasty may also be deemed a necessary treatment for individuals who have suffered a broken bone. Breakages in the nose can affect a person’s ability to breathe, and can negatively affect the appearance of the nose. Similarly, surgery may also be required for individuals who have suffered from cancer of the face, or experienced bone fractures around the nose, such as in the eye sockets or skull.
So, next time someone asks me if I would have plastic surgery, my answer will probably be: “Yes, if there was a medical reason for it.” I think it’s such a shame that we live in a world wear cosmetic surgery is seen as a luxury for vanity purposes, rather than what it was originally developed to do.
I’d love to hear your views.