Cosmetic Surgery in the U.S.
More than 1.8 million cosmetic procedures were performed surgically.
The top five most popular surgical cosmetic procedures in 2005 were
liposuction, nose reshaping, breast augmentation, eyelid surgery and
Minimally invasive procedures are becoming very popular. The
number of these reached 8.4 million in 2005, an increase of about 13
percent over the previous year. Plastic surgeons say there are several
possible reasons for the rising popularity. Minimally invasive
procedures can be done in an outpatient facility without the need for
general anesthesia. Recovery time is fast and the treatments are often
much less expensive than surgical options. The top five
minimally-invasive cosmetic procedures are BOTOX injections, chemical
peels, microdermabrasion, laser hair removal and sclerotherapy (removal
of spider veins).
In the past, many Americans weren't willing to
admit to having cosmetic surgery. Today however, cosmetic procedures
are much more accepted. A recent report from the American Society for
Aesthetic Plastic Surgery found 79 percent of men and 82 percent of
women would not be embarrassed if anyone beyond their close network of
friends and family found out they had undergone cosmetic plastic
Looks can play an important role in self-esteem. For thousands
of years, humans have used various methods (make-up, dress, hair-style
and clothing) to change their looks. At one point, only the very
wealthy could afford to have cosmetic surgery. But as cosmetic
procedures have become safer and more accessible, people from all walks
of life are seeking better ways to improve their looks. A recent survey
by the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery found women who
underwent cosmetic surgery not only improved their self-image, but
their sex life as well.
Some recent television shows have popularized drastic makeovers
using cosmetic surgery. However, some experts say the shows may give
consumers a false sense of expectations. Plastic surgeons, Valeria
Ablaza, M.D. and Allen Rosen, M.D. have co-authored a book, called
Beauty in Balance, to remind the public that balance and safety are key
factors in satisfaction with cosmetic procedures.
Television shows sometimes sensationalize results to gain viewer
interest, profiling subjects who've had several major surgeries to
dramatically change their appearance. Those patients endure a long
recovery time and face an increased risk of infection, bleeding and
other complications due to the sheer volume of surgical manipulation.
Ablaza and Rosen say patients should make sure they choose a
board certified physician when seeking a consultation for cosmetic
procedures. Board certification means the doctor has received adequate
training and experience in the field. A good physician will carefully
explain the anticipated outcome of a procedure as well as the risks.
While some procedures can be combined (like a facelift and eyelift, or
liposuction on the hips and thighs), others are best done in separate
stages. A board-certified physician can help a patient determine which
procedures are safely done in combination and which should be done
separately (and in what order). In general, the authors say patients
should be able to get out of bed and walk around within a few hours
after surgery and return to public activity in seven to ten days.
Ablaza and Rosen also say "ultimate" makeovers sometimes
portrayed on television are often so dramatic that patients don't look
like themselves any more. While the "shock" factor may look good for
the television audience, in reality, it's too much of a drastic change
for most people. The plastic surgeons recommend smaller, more subtle
changes - and a healthy lifestyle - for a balanced, more natural look.