Open any gossip magazine, and you’ll probably find at least one story about a celebrity getting a facelift, breast augmentation (enlargement), or nose job. While that may be one side of plastic surgery, there are also many other ways that plastic surgery can improve the way your body looks and functions.
Plastic surgery goes way beyond altering your appearance. It can be beneficial for many reasons — from hand reconstruction to scar revisions. Plastic surgeons change the shape or appearance of your body, and that can be purely cosmetic in order to build confidence or completely necessary for your body to function. Either way, it allows many people to live the lives that they desire.
- In 2017, people in the US underwent 17.5 million cosmetic procedures.
- 15.7 million of those procedures were minimally-invasive.
- 49% of all procedures are done on 40- to 54-year-olds.
- 92% of all procedures are done on women.
- 4.5 million tumor removals were performed in 2017.
Fast Facts About Plastic Surgery in the US
Plastic and reconstructive surgery is often used to:
- Change breast size or shape
- Change ear size or shape
- Remove bags under your eyes or reshape drooping lids
- Remove facial wrinkles and scars
- Replace hair in balding areas
- Change nose shape
- Flatten your stomach area
- Remove tumors
- Repair lacerations (deep tears or cuts)
- Minimize scars
As cosmetic surgery is increasing in popularity, it’s time to dispel the myths that paint plastic surgery as a practice that is all about beauty, vanity, and money.
Here’s the truth about 5 common myths about plastic surgery.
Myth #1: Plastic surgery is only used to improve your appearance.
There’s no denying that many plastic surgery procedures can help you feel more confident about how you look — which is a very valuable benefit in itself.
However, plastic surgery is not just about aesthetics — it’s also about how your body functions overall.
For example, you might get plastic surgery to:
- Fix a birth defect like a cleft palate, which can cause problems with nursing, eating, or speech
- Restore hand function after an injury
- Repair a skin cancer tumor
Other plastic surgery procedures can fix appearance issues that come from having a medical condition, such as breast reconstruction after cancer or skin repair from a burn.
Myth #2: Plastic surgery is only for women.
Portrayals in pop culture may lead you to believe that if you walk into a plastic surgeon’s office, you’ll be surrounded by all women. While it’s true that women make up the majority of plastic surgery patients, and some procedures are more common for women, such as breast augmentation, breast implant removal, and breast lifts, they’re not the only patients.
There are a number of ways in which men can benefit from plastic surgery, too.
Men make up the majority of patients who undergo calf augmentation, hair transplantation, chin augmentation, and pectoral implants. Other procedures that are common for men include:
- Cheek implants
- Ear surgery
- Nose reshaping
- Eyelid surgery
- Cellulite treatment
- Laser hair removal
Myth #3: The results from plastic surgery last forever.
Plastic surgery may allow you to experience quick and noticeable results — but it’s not magic. It can alter the effects of aging, injuries, or other imperfections, but it won’t prevent your body from continuing to change and age after the procedure.
However, there are a few lifestyle changes that can make the results last longer, such as:
- Changing your skincare routine to maintain your skin health
- Maintaining a healthy lifestyle with diet and exercise to keep weight off that was removed during surgery
- Committing to less-invasive office procedures or surgical touch-ups to maintain results of the plastic surgery
Even with lifestyle changes, you may need another procedure down the road. In fact, in 2017, nearly ½ of all plastic surgery patients were repeat patients — meaning that wasn’t their first procedure.
The likelihood that you’ll need to repeat procedures depends on which procedure you have in the first place. For example, you may need to get multiple Botox injections, but breast implants last much longer — sometimes, up to 20 or 30 years. It’s important to have realistic expectations about how long results will last and when you might need another procedure.
Myth #4: Plastic surgery won’t leave any scars.
Plastic surgery involves reshaping your body, which often requires incisions. There are many ways to reduce the size of scars and make them less noticeable — such as placing the incision in an area that’s usually covered by clothing — but it’s impossible to completely avoid scars.
Fortunately, there are ways you can minimize scarring, such as topical treatments and dermabrasion. Topical treatments can help your scar heal faster and dermabrasion is a skin-smoothing technique that minimizes the visibility of scars.
Make sure you follow your provider’s instructions and allow your body time to heal.
Myth #5: When it comes to plastic surgery, all providers are the same.
Plastic surgery is like any medical procedure, and you should feel comfortable with your provider and confident in their medical expertise. This will impact the results of your procedure and your overall experience.
As you search for your provider, consider asking them:
- Whether they are board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery — the board that maintains ongoing training and professional standards for plastic surgeons in the US
- How long they have been performing the procedure
- If you can see before and after photos of previous surgeries, to confirm their aesthetic sense aligns with yours
Once you’ve found the right provider, ask them any questions you have. The more you know about them and the procedure, the more comfortable you’ll feel throughout your experience with plastic surgery.