Seeking Perfection: a Modern Epidemic

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Seeking Perfection: A Modern Epidemic

America’s quest in seeking perfection has increased cosmetic procedures by 846% since 1980. According to the latest procedural statistics report, put out by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), a little over 12 million cosmetic procedures in 2007 alone. These statistics, translate to roughly 13,600 patients on a daily basis (D’Amico, 2008). With the invention of cosmetic surgery, the objective was to help the wounded and people born with defects more than 4,000 years ago (ASPS), despite breathtaking increases in modern day use for sculpting the perfect image. Therefore, advancement of procedures, various affordable financing, and the effects of society’s influence may have contributed to the increase of cosmetic surgery. One thought is cosmetic surgeon’s continuous education and advancement in procedures, have contributed to the dramatic increase of cosmetic surgery. For instance, a physician’s knowledge and their ability to perform a successful procedure, weighs heavily in a person’s decision to undergo cosmetic enhancement. This aspect leads physicians to partake in a wide variety of continuing education choices. In fact, this education is a yearly membership requirement of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (2009). Furthermore, taking in consideration just a few of the continuing advancements developed to surpass previous results from cosmetic procedures; it is easy to see why the ASPS require this training. Specifically, these improvements include, reducing length of procedure, while lowering the level of difficulty, as well as decreasing the recovery period for the patient. With that in mind, continuing education courses, seminars, and training on new procedural equipment is non-negotiable in terms of staying on top of the ever-changing field. Before understanding how the field of plastic surgery has evolved over the years, knowledge of its origin along with first procedure methods is essential. Documentation, recorded throughout history regarding plastic surgery procedures, has allowed researchers to track advancements over centuries. For instance, one of the earliest cosmetic procedure was performed between 400-600 B.C., by using skin grafted from the cheek to repair an earlobe with instruments the surgeon developed (Seward, 2007). In other words, with the turning of new centuries, plastic surgery remained mainly for reconstructive purposes with very little progress and improvement. Granted that, this type of surgery existed for thousands of years; it was not until the 19th century that the American medical community accepted reconstructive surgery. In fact, these acceptances lead to the first plastic surgery by a major American surgeon, Dr. John Peter Mettauer in 1827 (ASPS, 2009). Naturally, his surgical repair of a cleft palate marked the beginning of plastic surgery in America. With the dawn of WWI, Americans faced the devastating realities of war., soldiers were returning with deformities, due to injuries. Plastic surgeons aided these heroes in performing countless reconstructive procedure. After surgeons came to the rescue once more in WWII, the profession finally obtained the respect of other medical professionals. This respect would lead to a more intense desire to improve upon surgical techniques and outcomes. In fact, the past few decades in the history of plastic surgery have brought enormous advances in treatment and awareness among the public about these advancements. Furthermore, these advancements have provided a decrease in the risks and dramatically decreased the healing time, thought to be necessary for plastic surgery. Specifically, these include use of precise suturing methods, use of ultrasound technology, and the use of advanced endoscopic techniques (Pacheco, 2004). In addition, one could say that the developments in microsurgery made possible, surgeries that some considered impossible, such as re-implanting body...
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