In Medical Dictionary, Cosmetic Surgery or Plastic Surgery is described as the surgery that alters or enhances the appearance of a physical feature / irregularity / defects. It is regarded as the field of surgery concerned with reducing scars or disfigurement that may occur because of accidents, birth defects, or treatment for diseases such as melanoma. Many plastic surgeons also perform cosmetic surgery that is unrelated to medical condition, such as Rhinoplasty to change the shape of the nose (MedicineNet). The word “Plastic” in “Plastic surgery” came from Greek term Plastikos that means to shape or to mold.
Plastic surgery finds its origin in early 800 B.C. when surgeons in India restored noses of people who had their noses taken off as a form of punishment. Wars have played a significant role in the history of plastic surgery. The World War I left high number of shattered faces that needed to be rebuilt using cosmetic surgery in order to restore hope among the soldiers. In the late 19th century, the American medical community embraced reconstructive surgery and the history of plastic surgery in the United States began (History of Plastic Surgery).
Earlier, only rich and famous used to reshape using cosmetic surgery but now it is performed on various patients from varying background. In 2007, there were around 11.7 million plastic surgery performed which is an approximately 50 percent rise from 2000. The top five most popular plastic surgery procedures include Liposuction, Breast Augmentation, Eyelid Surgery, Abdominoplasty (Tummy Tuck) and Breast Reduction. Around 8 million minimal cosmetic procedures (no-surgery) were performed and the top five procedure included Botox, Hyaluronic Acid, Laser Hair removal, Microdermabrasion, and Laser skin Resurfacing. Over 5 million reconstructive surgeries performed, which includes Tumor removal, laceration repair, scar revision, hand surgery and Breast reduction. In 2008, total number of cosmetic surgery performed is 10.2 Million (ASAPS). Americans spent almost $11.8 billion on cosmetics procedures last year (ASAPS).
Plastic Surgery refers to various areas which include cosmetic surgery; facio-maxillary surgery; micro vascular surgery; surgery of birth deformities, burns and hand injuries and cancer surgery.
Appearance Based Workplace Discrimination
There are three major reasons which makes people choose plastic surgery which are as follow:
- Appearance: An expectation of physical beauty even impacts women economically through their workplaces. “Lookism,” or the prejudice based on physical appearance and attractiveness, is an increasing equal-opportunity problem. Despite the fact that work productivity has not been scientifically linked with physical attractiveness, one study found that employers believe that good looks contribute to the success of their companies. (YWCA)
- Earnings: One analysis found that workers with “below average” looks tended to earn about 9 percent less money than workers who were “above average” in appearance, and that those who were “above average” in appearance tended to make about 5 percent more money than those who were “average looking.” (YWCA)
- Overweight: Discrimination against overweight people in the workplace is a widespread practice. According to one researcher who has examined 30 studies about weight-based discrimination, “weight based discrimination consistently affects every aspect of employment, from hiring to firing, promotions, pay allocation, career counseling and discipline. (YWCA)
Plastic Surgery: Addiction and Abuse
People who are addicted to cosmetic surgery have very poor body descriptions or Body Dysmorphic Disorder. There are two signs of plastic surgery addiction – unacceptability to the advice of their surgeon and unrealistic expectations.
According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), there are two types of patients who undergo plastic surgery. There are patients who possess a strong self-image and like to have a specific physical characteristic improved or changed and there are those who have a physical defect or cosmetic flaw that has diminished their self-esteem over time.
The most interesting thing about plastic surgery addiction is initially the patients seek for one or two improvements. Once this problem gets fixed, they begin searching their body for other kinds of problems that can be fixed with cosmetic surgery. This is how addiction begins.
The most common addicts are females and women population. This is a most common problem among women who think just one more surgery; one more fix will make them look perfect. These addicts have an image in mind to attain and they keep on undergoing surgery until they achieve the image in their mind. They want to look beautiful and attractive. Today’s society is visual and people appearing on television and fashion considered the most beautiful people in the society. The definition of looking beautiful has evolved over the years and is considered having a perfect body, perfect nose and everything else. In modern era, unattractiveness cannot be accepted as a curse and aging looks as a sign of wisdom.
Plastic surgery is starting to become very popular nowadays. Many celebrities often land up being plastic surgery addicted. To name a few: Demi Moore, Sharon Osbourne, Cher, Tom Jones, Pamela Anderson, Bruce Jenner, Joan Rivers, David Gest, Michael Jackson, and Jocelyn Wildenstein. Most of the patients who undergo plastic surgery are from glamour world who want to look beautiful in movies and TV sets. Michael Jackson has undergone over 10 rounds of plastic surgery. Sarah Burge, who has been crowned as the most plastic lady by the “Guinness Book of World Records” has had over 100 cosmetic surgeries. Sarah Burge is regarded as “Real Life Barbie”. Cindy Jackson is the world record holder for “Most Cosmetic Surgery Procedures”. Joan Rivers after a numerous surgery still quotes “My motto is better a new face coming out of an old car than an old face coming out of a new car” and “Plastic surgery has everything to do with how a person feels about him or herself. There is no such thing as too much”. Demi Moore has had $600,000 worth of plastic surgery which includes breast implants, liposuction, brow lift etc.
In 2008, women had over 9.3 million cosmetic procedures, almost 92 percent of the total. Men had over 800,000 cosmetic procedures, 8 percent of the total. (ASAPS)
People age 35-50 had the most procedures – over 4.5 million and 45 percent of the total. People age 19-34 had 22 percent of procedures; age 51-64 had 26 percent; age 65-and-over had 6 percent and age 18-and-younger had almost 2 percent.
Plastic surgery is currently been exploited for personal pleasures rather than to cure diseases or deformities. People tend to abuse the use of cosmetic surgery. People get addicted to plastic surgery like a disease. Plastic surgery is not at all a bad thing. Children, born with deformities are benefited and cured using plastic surgery. The great thing about plastic surgery is that it can benefit in both ways – physically as well as emotionally. Few operations prove to be beneficial for health such as reduction of breast size. Many studies were done on the effects of breast size reduction on quality of life by The New York University School of Medicine. They found that these women got significant health benefits. The women were able to play sports and wear variety of clothes. The women suffered less low back pain, headaches, and bra strap grooving and neck pain after surgery.
In Consumer Attitudes Survey, 62 percent of women said they approve cosmetic surgery while 51 percent of men said they approve the same. Around two-thirds of plastic surgery patients are return customers. Young people are also showing an increased interest in cosmetic surgery. In 2008, young people aged 18-24 had the highest approval rating for cosmetic surgery. According to a survey of young people aged 18 and above, 69 percent of respondents are in favor of cosmetic surgery, which is a 7 percent increase from 2006. (YWCA)
Dr. Robert Guida who is a famous Facial Cosmetic Surgeon at the New York Plastic Surgery describes the symptoms of Cosmetic Surgery Addiction as countless cosmetic surgeries, either on the same body part or on different body parts, obsession with a very minor defect not noticeable to others, obsession with a specific body part or parts of an admired celebrity or model, extremely unrealistic expectations, refusal to listen to the advice of a cosmetic surgeon when he / she advises them that further plastic surgery is unnecessary and will not help – or will do more harm than good. (Pawlik-Kienien)
Finland’s biggest airline, Finair Oyj, is offering plastic surgery as a way to redeem frequent flier miles. It takes 1.32 million points to buy a lower Blepharoplasty and 3.18 million points to buy a breast augmentation. That would equal 120 round-trip, business class flights from New York to Helsinki. (McMillin)
The plastic surgery is being abused by rich people. They can spend whatever amount they want and get operated just for the sake of looking prettier and beautiful. It is being misused for artificial beauty and spending money in something which is not at all essential. Generally, people who undergo plastic surgery operation once are seen again operating some other part of the body to gain perfection.