You’ve thought about it a hundred times and you’re seriously considering having cosmetic surgery. You have a few friends who have done it successfully and you’re wondering how it will work for you. You may have read (and seen) celebrity cosmetic surgery horror stories and fear that it could happen to you. If you’re considering cosmetic surgery, you’ll want to read this to help you decide whether to go under the knife.
Cosmetic Surgery – Should You Do It?
Around age 50 many people look in the mirror and see, not so much of an older person staring back at them, but an unhappy looking version of themselves. The physical dynamics of facial aging – which is involved with gravity’s pull on your facial muscles – can really be dramatic for some people, creating very pronounced jowls and a lot of loose skin under the neck. Those “parentheses” lines that run from the corner of your nose to around your mouth – clinically called nasolabial lines – can further contribute to a chronically unhappy, tired look even if you’re the most chipper person around.
In addition, sunken cheeks, lines across the forehead, crow’s feet, all do their part in creating an older, tired, unhappy appearance. It can even make you feel older than you are. So, at this point, many people start to consider facial cosmetic surgery. It’s often considered the “gold standard” in facial rejuvenation. And for many people it can be. However, sometimes it can have complications that can leave you feeling – and looking – worse. Here are a few important things to consider when making your decision – let’s start with the positives first.
The Positives of Cosmetic Surgery
1. A more youthful appearance. This is the single most important reason people want to do cosmetic surgery. Cosmetic lifts more than your face; it can also lift your psychological state and mood. Looking in the mirror and seeing a younger, happier looking version of you can skyrocket your self-esteem and your ability to enjoy your life. Having a more youthful appearance might even help you get a better job giving the impression of a younger, more vital person.
2. Relieves a physical problem. Some people’s eyelids have drooped so far that their peripheral vision is reduced. Women with very large breasts often suffer back and neck pain that is immediately alleviated by elected reduction surgery. For men, removal of excess breast tissue can mean decreasing their risk of getting breast cancer. Certain cosmetic nasal reconstructions can help someone breathe better and prevent recurrent sinus infections. Removing large areas of imperfections like port wine stains or scars from prior surgeries, accidents, etc, can help gain better function as well as provide an enormous psychological benefit in seeing the improvement in your appearance.
The Negatives of Cosmetic Surgery
1. Complications. This is by far one of the most important negatives of cosmetic surgery. Even though highly skilled surgeons do everything possible to avoid complications, and the percentage of them occurring is low, there is no guarantee against them. Infections, or a bad reaction to anesthesia, hemorrhaging, all of which can be life-threatening, can be part of the worst complications you could encounter. Secondly, pain and longer-than-expected healing times can be difficult to handle. Avoiding having too much “work” done at one time – confining procedures to smaller areas at a time – can minimize the risk of these types of complications.
2. Poor outcome. Some people may not be happy with their result. They thought it would look one way and their new look doesn’t match their expectation. Being realistic, talking with your surgeon about what can actually be achieved for your particular body/skin/muscle structure, can help minimize dissatisfaction with your new look. Many surgeons have computerized programs that can show you, basically, what your new nose, or chin lift, etc will look like, but they are just approximations. In addition, taking a longer time to recover than expected, lingering bruising, swelling, etc, can lead to dissatisfaction.
3. Cost. The old saying, “you get what you pay for”, could be applicable to cosmetic surgery. The best trained, experienced, skillful, reputable cosmetic surgeons are going to cost more than someone just out of school. In most cases, the extra cost is well worth it in your peace of mind. In addition, you should consider how much, if any, loss to your income will occur during your recovery time. Also, will any of your medical insurance cover your surgery, how much out of pocket expenses will you have? If your surgery is purely cosmetic, your insurance may not pay for any of your procedure at all. If, however, your cosmetic surgery also relieves a physical, medical diagnosis, then it most likely will cover the majority of it.
Patients ask me if I think cosmetic surgery is worth doing. My answer is it depends on the person, their feelings about how they look, and their goals and expectations. I think cosmetic surgery in small amounts can be very beneficial in helping someone feel better about their appearance. For example, just lifting the rhytids – those nasolabial lines – or smoothing/tightening the jaw line can really do wonders for someone’s appearance and their outlook on getting older. When you feel good about yourself, you’re more likely to live a healthy lifestyle and enjoy your life more.
Jay Brachfeld, M.D.
Natural Health News