Is Plastic Surgery Only About Vanity?

The media often glamourizes perfection. We open a magazine, see someone with a perfect body, and want ours to be like that too. In truth, Photoshop and other editing apps can easily be used to manipulate images of celebrities to be closer to what we accept as natural. In real life we are all imperfect, asymmetrical, and in many cases not as firm as we used to be. Nevertheless, we are all eager to emulate those perfect bodies dangled in front of us, which is why plastic surgery is such a booming field.

Plastic Surgery Myths and Misconceptions

But does that mean that we should live without trying to contour our bodies to be closer to that ideal?

In the sense that what makes us look better makes us feel better, plastic surgery can have a real positive effect on a person. It is not that different from the fashion industry in that way. It is one of the myths of plastic surgery to that it is purely about vanity. Just as it is a myth that plastic surgery has anything to do with plastic as a material (the word ‘plastic’ originates from the Greek work ‘plastiko,’ meaning to form or to mold).

This misconceptions, together with others we have heard about plastic surgery and particularly liposuction over the years, has prompted us to compile a list of plastic surgery myths:

Plastic Surgery is Only About Vanity

FALSE. Vanity is definitely one reason some people go to get plastic surgery. However, often the issue is simply feeling insecure about a particular area of the body. Some people may want to “refresh” things as the aging process takes place. Others may want to completely change the look of something that has bothered them for years. The decision is personal and private and something that you should be comfortable with. When a patient does elect to have cosmetic surgery, it is often to correct areas not amenable to diet, weight loss, or a nonsurgical treatment.

Liposuction Will Help with Weight Loss

FALSE. Liposuction is not a weight loss program. In fact, a plastic surgeon may request that a patient shed some weight before scheduling liposuction. Lipo is great for contouring an area that does not respond to diet and/or exercise, but it will not yield a significant weight loss. Maintaining a proper diet and consistent exercise will help to keep noticeable fat pockets from forming in areas that have not been treated with liposuction. Liposuction works best if you are within 30% of your ideal weight.

Plastic Surgery is Only for Rich People

FALSE. Plastic surgery is no longer something that is reserved only for the wealthy elite. The average plastic surgery patient has a middle class income. Thanks to evolving technology, devices have become less invasive. Not only does this make procedures easier with less discomfort, it makes them faster and cheaper too. What may have required general anesthesia and a hospital stay in the past can now be done as an outpatient treatment in an afternoon. Also, more banks and other providers now offer long-term medical financing plans, often with deferred interest All this means that plastic surgery is within easier reach than ever for most people.

Liposuction Cannot Alter Your Appearance Long-Term

FALSE. Some people say that whatever fat you lose with liposuction will come right back afterwards, but that is not true.  Liposuction is permanent in the sense that it removes the targeted fat cells forever. What is true is that bad dieting habits and a lifestyle without exercise can pack on new rolls of fat over time. However, this isn’t what happens to most liposuction patients. Most are able to maintain their new shape. The reason liposuction is so effective is that it provides a huge incentive for patients to maintain their new look with healthy diet and exercise, once they have attained their ideal. It’s much easier to stick to a program when you can see the results of it every day rather than chasing an ideal that seems too far out of reach.

Liposuction Shifts Fat Cells Elsewhere

FALSE. Some patients believe that those fat cells perhaps shift to a different body part after being “attacked” or “beaten back” in one area. Again, that isn’t the case. While it is true that fat harvested with liposuction can be used in what’s called Fat Transfer as a filler in another area of your body, like breasts, buttocks, hands, or even the face, fat cells don’t wander on their own. Fat removed with liposuction remains gone from your body. If you gain weight again after your procedure, new fat cells can form, but what has once been removed stays gone for good.

Plastic Surgery is Only for Women

FALSE. While the majority of plastic surgery patients are female, the balance has shifted significantly. Since 1997, there has been a 273% increase in males seeking plastic surgery. Some of the most common requests for male patients are liposuction, facelifts, male breast reduction – either through liposuction or surgically – and tummy tucks. In some fields, such as hair replacement and restoration, male patients already outnumber female patients. As it has become more accepted for men to undergo cosmetic surgery, the trend toward more male procedures has only accelerated.

Plastic surgery is effective, relatively affordable, and not just about vanity. It is important to dispel plastic surgery myths so that those who might benefit from it do not get deterred for the wrong reasons.

Each patient is unique. What your treatment will look like is determined by you and the plastic surgeon who you will meet with in a personal consultation.