Reprinted with the permission
June 13, 1994
specializes in both reconstructive and cosmetic or aesthetic
surgery. Reconstructive surgery helps one to fix or bring
to normalcy something that is irregular on the body, such
as a ripped earlobe, or a scar. Cosmetic surgery helps
to improve one's image, or as it is often called, aesthetic
surgery, it gives one's body a sense of beauty. Plastic
surgery has many uses today. Ultimately, plastic surgery
benefits both young and old psychologically, physically
image, or perception of how they look, often controls
their life, both directly and indirectly. Plastic surgery
can help people with this image struggle which often
monopolizes one's perception of the world around them.
" Despite difference in age, background and social or
economic status, their common denominator is a deep-seated
and persistent dissatisfaction with the way they look
to themselves and others" (Stallings 3). One's perception
of themselves is reflected in their personality and
treatment of those they come in contact with. If a person
is not happy with the way they look they often project
it through negative body language or some other form
of communication. "Schilder states that body image is
the nucleus from which all elements of the personality
arise" (Stark 4). Plastic surgery, whether cosmetic
or reconstructive, can help to improve a person's psychological
outlook on life.
suffered emotional trauma as children and many children
suffer today because of the cruelty of their peers and
the teasing they receive. "You can't imagine how it
feels not to be afraid of being teased anymore...They'd
call out, 'Is that a nose or a hose?'...It got so that
when I looked in the mirror, I didn't see what I was
actually seeing, only what they were saying about me"
( Stallings 18). In this case, cosmetic surgery greatly
benefited this patient's emotional state. Being accepted
by one's peers is sometimes the most important and consuming
factor of childhood. "Aesthetic ( cosmetic) plastic
surgery gains wider acceptance as a method for enhancing
body image and self confidence, it is being considered
at an increasingly younger age" ("Should Teens Have
Plastic Surgery?" 6). In today's day and age when one's
looks are front and center wherever you go, people (young
or old) no longer have to put up with something they
despise about their body. The opportunities that plastic
surgery offers are vast and range from anything such
as rhinoplasty, commonly referred to as a "nose-job",
to a chemical peel to remove acne scars. Whatever the
surgery, to have the option of being able to change
what one has always perceived as their fault, can be
a tremendous emotional boost.
of cosmetic surgery don't stop at childhood, however,
but are felt throughout any age group. " All the spirit
is back in me again" (Stallings 97). Older, or aging
people have found an outlet in cosmetic surgery that
psychologically makes them feel younger and more vibrant
as they start to look better. " Improving their appearance
may allow them to be accepted by a younger group or
may vault them into a more meaningful life" ( Stark
xiv). Especially in the case of the elderly, a healthy
appearance is sometimes the determining factor in whether
they feel or are healthy. " Psychologically, patients
receive a powerful boost from such surgery" (Stark xv).
Older patients of cosmetic and reconstructive surgery
benefit psychologically, as well as physically from
improving their body image. Whether it's removing fat
through liposuction from an obese person, or merely
giving a facelift to someone who is feeling in the dumps
about their older appearance, all of these things help
to improve the person spiritually as well as physically.
society, inevitably, attractiveness aids in social acceptance.
"Recent studies have shown that persons of pleasing
appearance are accepted more readily by peers and by
seniors and are more, successful" (Stark xv). This,
maybe true anywhere: in the work-force, in the dating
and social night life, as well as anywhere one goes
for either service or in any type of communication related
atmosphere. Good looks are often helpful in receiving
more attention as well. To achieve this social satisfaction,
many often look to plastic surgery to take away that
extra lump or bump, or improve some other fault one
might find with themselves.
individual whose body image is aberrant or different
will find it hard to form meaningful interpersonal associations
and may become a social outcast, suffering psychological
damage inherent in this particular type of rejection"
(Stark 10-11). Plastic surgery, is somewhat of a miracle
cure for patients in these unfortunate cases. Abnormalities
can fortunately be reconstructed by such surgery. An
example of this kind of surgery would be a clef palate
or some other born-defect. If one has a poor self-image
or is unhappy with the way they look, cosmetic and reconstructive
surgery is their answer. " Psychologically, patients
receive a powerful boost from such surgery" ( Stark
xv). People no longer have to be unhappy with who they
are because of a feature that has always bothered them.
Plastic surgery leads to a healthier outlook on life
and can be a milestone in one's life. According to Dr.
Goin, MD, if one has a poor self-image cosmetic surgery
can boost self-esteem and help one feel more outgoing
and relaxed (Dranov 66).
surgery can achieve what years of exercise can't, and
brings a different meaning to the phrase " growing old
gracefully". Changing one's appearance in the slightest
of ways can make a world of difference to that person.
The rate of cosmetic procedures is increasing rapidly,
and with it a new found answer to a happier and healthier
life. "Aesthetic plastic surgery can no longer be considered
vanity surgery, as it was in the past. Its benefits
to the patient are tremendous" ( Stark xiv). Plastic
surgery also helps individuals to be more out-going
and proves to boost one' s self-esteem.
of both reconstructive and cosmetic surgery prove to
outweigh the risks; plastic surgery benefits the patient
not only physically, but emotionally and psychologically.
Fortunately, today there is an answer to such unhappiness
that one might feel when looking in the mirror. Plastic
surgery is an option to feel good again. It is an option
that can benefit one for an entire lifetime.
" Should Teens Have Plastic Surgery?" USA Today, January,
Dranov, Paula. "Vanity Fair". Health, 19 May, 1987,
Seay, Gina. "Waiting for answers". Houston Chronicle,
6 October 1991, PP lG+.
Reprinted in SIRS, Health, Vol. 4 article No. 59.
Stallings, ]ames O. A New You. New York: Mason/Charter.
Stark, Richard B. Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. Boston:
Little, Brown and Company, Inc.
The Psychological Benefits
of Cosmetic Plastic Surgery