“Plastic Surgery Changing Lives” by E. Fitzgerald
by Health Blogger Erika Fitzgerald
In an ideal world, the way a person looks would never be a cause for bullying, oppression, or slander. Unfortunately, many people do, in fact, judge one another based on appearances. This was the sad truth in 15-year-old Renata’s case. After being ostracized and bullied by her peers for the size of her nose, Renata opted to be home-schooled instead.
Eventually, Renata reached out to a New York nonprofit organization known as the Little Baby Face Foundation. The organization’s mission is to help children with birth deformities by providing them with life-changing restorative treatments and surgeries free of cost. The nonprofit awarded Renata with $7,000 worth of plastic surgery to correct the appearance of her nose and chin after diagnosing her with a facial birth defect known as hemi-facial microsomia.
Despite some controversy surrounding whether or not plastic surgery is an answer for deflecting bullying, it has helped many children and teens such as Renata to regain the confidence they need to live a fulfilling life.
More Than Just a Makeover
There is often a stigma surrounding plastic surgery. There’s a tendency for people to regard it as strictly cosmetic, a way for others to simply enhance their physical characteristics with the goal of achieving artificial beauty. But is it possible for plastic surgery to achieve a much greater purpose? The statistics and patient testimonials point to “yes.”
The American Society of Plastic Surgeons® reported a total of 5.6 million reconstructive procedures in 2012. These 5.6 million reconstructive surgeries encompassed a variety of procedures including tumor removal, breast reconstruction, scar revision, and birth defects. In Renata’s case, she was chosen to receive surgery after being diagnosed with hemi-facial microsomia, one of the most common facial birth defects. The defect leaves areas of the face underdeveloped and often goes undiagnosed.
In addition to correcting physical deformities and defects, reconstructive plastic surgery procedures provide patients with renewed feelings of self-confidence and empowerment to change their lives for the better. Renata’s surgery gave her the confidence to return to public school, and her mother reported that her daughter was happier than she’d seen her in a long time.
Renata is just one example of how plastic surgery can change lives. Other cases in which plastic surgery has helped patients include breast cancer reconstruction to restore breast shape, post-bariatric reconstruction after major weight loss, and laceration repair surgery to address accidents and injuries. One breast reconstruction patient explains on RealSelf that “After cancer robs you of many things including your breast, reconstruction is a way of feeling whole again.”
On their blog, the Plastic Surgery Specialists, offering reconstructive surgery for San Francisco-area patients, discuss the role that plastic surgery can play in improving people’s lives: “Just knowing that plastic surgery has the tools to relax and alleviate flaws … can be enough to brighten the attitude of most any patient who has been ‘through the wringer’ and set them on a course toward personal transformation.” Although the immediate effects of surgery are external, the lasting effects are much deeper.