Seeking Self-Esteem through Plastic Surgery
According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, there were over 10.2
million Cosmetic surgical and nonsurgical procedures performed in the United States in 2008.
This is an increase of 162 percent since 1997 (Nowak, R. (2006, October 19).
The most common procedures done were breast augmentation, liposuction, eyelid
surgery, rhinoplasty, and abdominalplasty. Cosmetic surgery has gone mainstream. There are
several reasons why someone might consider plastic surgery. The most common reason reported
was to improve their physical appearance, and in return boost their self-esteem. However, like all
things, there are pros and cons of this drastic, permanent decision.
Plastic surgery can have many positive outcomes. The most common one is the improvement of one's self-esteem after a positive surgery outcome. Most people who choose to get plastic surgery, do it simply because they are unhappy with the appearance of a certain part of their body. Some examples of these surgeries include breast augmentation, liposuction, body lifts, body implants, botox, hair transplants, and hair removals. Breast augmentation is the most popular plastic surgery, yet it has no real health benefits, only potential health risks. So why would one choose to get breast augmentation? Women who have gone through this surgery report that they feel more sexually confident and empowered. In the United States, society and media portray beautiful women as tall, thin, and large busted. This may be why women associate having larger breasts with greater self-confidence and acceptance. Both men and women in the United States feel pressured to be thin and fit, in order to be considered attractive. For that reason, many people seek out quick fixes such as liposuction, body implants, and abdominalplasty.
Plastic surgery can also provide some health benefits. There are various procedures done to help alleviate pain and discomfort, or to simply make someone more comfortable. Some examples of these surgeries are scar revision, hand surgery, cleft lip and palate repair, ear surgery, breast reduction, and breast reconstruction. Scar revision may be necessary for excessive scar formation, which could cause physical restrictions in that area. Hand surgery is chosen when someone is missing fingers, has abnormally shaped hands, or perhaps webbed fingers. These things would affect a person’s daily life. The doctors could possibly fix these deformities so that this person could potentially live a much more normal life. Cleft lip and palate repair is done when a child has been born with this birth defect. Without the surgery, the child would suffer from difficulty nursing or being bottle fed, malnutrition, speech problems, irregular dental development, and hearing loss. Ear surgery is performed on children when their outer ear is severely deformed and leads to several different levels of hearing loss. Breast reduction is typically performed on women with overly sized breasts that affect their daily lives. This reduction relieves back and neck problems and skin irritation. Breast reconstruction is chosen when a women has lost a breast or breasts due to cancer or the deformity of a breast. With these procedures being performed, based on health reasons only, they still provide an emotional balance in patient’s lives by making them more comfortable and functional. These surgeries make them feel more “normal” and able to live a less self-conscience life style, and fit in with societies expectations. In return, this helps boost their self-esteem. For example, a person who previously had webbed fingers can now do things "normal" people take for granted, such as shake hands, pay their waitress without the embarrassing stares and even play sports if they so choose. The woman who previously lost her breast to cancer can now feel "woman-like"...
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