Cosmetic surgery is a divisive topic. For some, the risks don’t seem worth the payoff, and for others, the results are life-changing. Our society’s obsession with youthfulness can cause a deep sense of inadequacy in those who see themselves physically ageing, and the mental and emotional trauma that comes from low self-esteem can make people feel like they need to ‘fix’ parts of themselves that they are unhappy with. For those who see cosmetic surgery as vain, these reasons don’t seem like a legitimate cause to surgically alter one’s body.
However, all medical procedures are performed to help promote health and well-being, and for some, that means changing their physical appearance. Reasons for seeking plastic surgery are as diverse as the patients who elect to have these procedures performed, and while the risks are clear, for many, the feelings of rejuvenation, confidence, and contentment are well worth it.
Why Choose Surgery?
Plastic surgery is a critical part of the medical field and can help burn victims recover from injuries, postnatally depressed mothers feel like themselves after childbirth, and even transgender people live life more authentically as their true selves. Surgery is a drastic choice, but medical technology is more advanced than ever and recovery times and scarring can be reduced to almost nothing with the right surgeon.
Many of the downsides have disappeared in the past few decades. Cosmetic surgery is safer, cheaper, and more available than ever before. This doesn’t mean it’s the right choice for everyone, but for those who want to have it done, there has never been a better time. Public opinion is changing rapidly, and that, combined with the skill and safety patients can now expect from their surgeons, can make it difficult to draw the line between what is ‘natural’ and ‘unnatural’.
For and Against
Proponents of elective cosmetic surgery point to makeup, shaping lingerie, and intense exercise as ways that people have altered their bodies for centuries to feel more beautiful and youthful. Surgery is no different. Opponents state the risks of surgery regardless of how safe it seems and argue that surgically altered models and celebrities set unrealistic expectations for young women in particular, and promote self-esteem issues that then cause them to seek cosmetic surgery later in life. Ultimately, the absolute moral approach is hard to justify completely, but both sides of the argument have merit.
Many doctors, like top Scottsdale plastic surgeon Dr. Joseph Bernardi, now emphasize a highly personalized approach to cosmetic surgery. Working closely with the patient to understand their reasons for opting to have the procedure, discussing what they hope to gain from it, and helping them achieve a safe, natural result make the process a much more humane form of medical treatment.
Ultimately, only the patient themselves can decide if surgery is the right option for them. For some, the same result can be achieved with diet, exercise, and skin care, but for others, who might not have the time or energy to go it naturally, or for whom it might be impossible, surgery is a quicker way to see changes. Weighing the benefits and risks is something a patient should do with a doctor they trust before taking any significant steps. Nowadays, there are a thousand ways to pursue youthfulness and confidence, but for some, surgery might be the best option, and it’s their right to choose for themselves.