Millions of people across the world seek out plastic surgery at one time or another during their lives. Despite this, there are a great many myths about plastic surgery. Some of these myths were never true to begin with, while others were true once but are no longer accurate due to advancing technologies within the fields. If you feel apprehensive about getting plastic surgery, it can help to look through some of the most pervasive myths about common procedures and compare them to the facts of today’s surgical field. Listed below are some of the most pervasive myths about plastic surgery as well as facts to explain the field in more detail.
Myth: All Plastic Surgery is Cosmetic Surgery
Plastic surgery and cosmetic surgery are related, and many surgeons are trained to perform procedures that fall under both umbrellas. However, cosmetic surgery usually refers to elective procedures that improve a person’s physical appearance or at least alter something about an individual’s physique. Plastic surgery is not always elective and can involve anything from physical alterations to body sculpting to the reconstruction of damaged tissue. Plastic surgeons have their own practice interests and areas of expertise. While many do provide some cosmetic procedures as well, there are some who focus solely on reconstructive surgery instead.
Myth: Plastic Surgery Always Involves Invasive Surgery
While there are a number of invasive plastic surgery procedures, many popular cosmetic procedures can be done in a single afternoon and on an outpatient basis. While each procedure does have a recovery period during which you need to strictly follow doctor’s orders to be sure that the cosmetic surgery has no unexpected aftereffects, it is completely possible to receive minimally invasive plastic surgery without any disruption to your normal way of life. All you need to do is speak to your doctor and make sure you know what the recovery period will be and what sort of activities you should avoid during that recovery period.
Myth: Only the Vain Seek Out Plastic Surgery
Boiled down to its most essential elements, plastic surgery involves changing the way you look. Many people consider the concept to be a bad thing, pursued only by the vain and shallow. However, those individuals often ignore the deeper psychological reasons why somebody seeks out plastic surgery. Maybe a person has been in an accident and wants to look like they did before the trauma struck. Maybe the patient has long harbored self-esteem issues that plastic surgery might be able to help fix. Maybe somebody sees a person in the mirror who doesn’t match their concept of self. All of these reasons have nothing to do with vanity, and all are valid reasons why some people seek out plastic surgery as an option.
Myth: All Plastic Surgery Involves Synthetic Implants of Some Sort
Breast implants are one of the most common forms of plastic surgery, which means that many people assume that all cosmetic procedures involve adding some sort of synthetic material into a person’s body. This is quite far from the truth. While some procedures do involve implants, such as breast enhancement or collagen injections to create fuller lips, many involve no synthetic materials at all. Body sculpting, for example, involves moving fat deposits in your body to different areas, thus using your body’s natural resources to create a new look. Similarly, liposuction actually involves the removal of fat without anything else implanted into the body. The term plastic surgery refers to the surgeon’s ability to sculpt and mold the body, not to implants placed within a body as part of a procedure.
Myth: Plastic Surgery is not Covered by Insurance
While different people have differing levels of insurance, most insurance commonly distinguishes between a procedure that is necessary and one that is elective. Most people assume that plastic surgery always falls into the elective category, but that is not true at all. A significant percentage of plastic surgery procedures falls under the umbrella of reconstructive surgery, which involves repairing and reforming a piece of the body that got damaged through illness or trauma. Elective cosmetic procedures are usually not covered, but anything that is considered to be reconstructive, be it repairing facial damage after a car accident or providing breast implants to somebody who had a mastectomy, usually counts as something that insurance covers.
Myth: Senior Citizens Should not Get Plastic Surgery
There is no formal age limit on plastic surgery. While a person usually does need to be a consenting adult or have the approval of a parent or guardian to get a cosmetic procedure, there is no point where you will be denied plastic surgery based on age alone. Doctors do evaluate your physical fitness for a procedure, particularly if the procedure has a long recovery time. Older people might find themselves unable to meet the physical rigors that recovery might involve, but this has more to do with physical health and typical activity levels that age in years. Every person’s body changes differently as they get older, and doctors will almost always consider your individual physical limits rather than your date of birth when determining whether or not you are a good fit for a procedure.
Myth: Plastic Surgery is for Women Only
While plastic and cosmetic surgery patients have historically been primarily female, more and more men are seeking out surgery. Some of these numbers come from men seeking reconstructive surgery after a trauma, but an increasing number of males are seeing the potential long-term benefits of the cosmetic side of plastic surgery as well. Popular cosmetic procedures preferred by men include hair transplantation or restoration, microdermabrasion, and liposuction. Most plastic surgery procedures performed today have women as the patient, but the number of men who are learning to embrace the options presented by this field is increasing every day.
Myth: Breast Implants Make it Unsafe to Breastfeed
Many people think of breast implants as a full replacement for breasts and thus believe that they render women incapable of breastfeeding their children. In fact, a surgeon who performs a breast implant procedure takes pains to make sure that the implants do not interfere with the nursing capability of the patient’s breast. Research has backed up the fact that breast implants do not negatively affect milk production. As most pediatric associations encourage women to breastfeed their children if possible, those who have breast implants or a similar procedure such as breast lifts should still breastfeed if they are able to do so.
Myth: Breast Augmentation Procedures Increase the Risk of Breast Cancer
Many people believe that women with larger breasts are more likely to get breast cancer. In their minds, more breast tissue means more potential cancer cells. In fact, breast size is not indicative of breast cancer risk. In many cases, the risk of cancer boils down to a matter of medical history and family genetics. Furthermore, breast augmentation procedures such as implant do not add potentially cancerous cells to the breasts. In many cases, implants are artificial materials that cannot themselves become cancerous. Even with these facts in mind, however, it is always important for women at high risk for breast cancer to undergo regular screening, regardless of what sort of plastic surgery they may or may not have had in the past.
Myth: Liposuction is an Easy Way to Lose Weight
Liposuction involves the removal of fat cells in a particular area of the body. Many people believe that this translates into quick and easy weight loss. In fact, patients who do not work to maintain the weight loss offered by liposuction are likely to gain it back, albeit sometimes in different parts of the body. Most plastic surgeons who perform liposuction ask patients to lose as much weight as possible before the procedure. Following that, patients should make sure to follow proper nutrition and exercise regularly if they wish to keep the lost weight off.
Myth: If You Get Too Much Plastic Surgery, You Won’t Recognize Yourself Anymore
Spy films and science fiction stories have given some people a very outlandish view of plastic surgery and its capabilities. The notion of a person completely changing their face or having so many procedures that they no longer look like the same person has embedded itself into common culture. While such drastic changes are theoretically possible, very few surgeons would ever perform such extensive surgery. Instead, plastic surgery augments or refines certain parts of a person’s existing appearance. While you will always see a noticeable result after a plastic surgery procedure, those results are often fairly subtle. Even more extensive plastic surgery procedures, such as gender reassignment surgery, leaves a person looking close to the way they appeared before.
The information presented above should clear up some notions and misconceptions that you may have about plastic surgery. For a full understanding of the procedures available to your, the potential cost, and the benefits of plastic surgery, consult your doctor. It helps to have a list of questions to guide the conversation, and the correction of the myths above should help you find your way.