“Plastic Surgery: Real People, Real Stories” by E. Fitzgerald
by Health Blogger Erika Fitzgerald
More than 1.6 million cosmetic surgical procedures were performed in 2013, according to data from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons® (ASPS). This statistic represents a wide variety of procedures and people from across the United States. While data are important on a macro level, each number has a unique story behind it.
Why People Choose Plastic Surgery
People choose plastic surgery for a vast array of reasons. It’s impossible to generalize 1.6 million personal reasons. More than 290,000 breast augmentations were performed last year. Women often choose breast augmentation to correct asymmetrical breasts, restore lost volume after childbirth, or simply to achieve the feminine figure they desire. Breast reconstruction with implants can also help breast cancer survivors restore their breasts after a mastectomy. Movie star Angelina Jolie recently revealed her story of choosing a preventive double mastectomy and breast reconstruction upon learning she was at risk for breast cancer. She tells US Weekly that she is “very happy [she] made the decision.”
Other surgeries such as liposuction and tummy tucks commonly help people who have undergone major weight loss and are unable to shed the last few pounds or have excess skin that can only be removed with surgery. In cases like these, plastic surgery can be the final step to a full lifestyle makeover.
Plastic surgery has also been hitting the news in recent years for its role in helping bullied teens lead fulfilling lives. TODAY Health told the story of 15-year-old Renata, for example, who stopped attending school after being taunted and harassed by classmates for her “big nose.” A few months after her nose surgery, Renata felt ready to return to school, saying “I feel happy and I feel confident, and I feel like I don’t have to hide myself anymore.”
Highlighting Real Patient Stories
As plastic surgery continues to gain popularity, many surgeons are making a point to highlight their patients’ successes. Take Sara’s breast augmentation story featured on Westport, CT plastic surgeon Ellen Mahony’s website, for example. Sara chose a breast augmentation after having 2 children and spending her entire adult life feeling self-conscious about her size 32AA breasts. After her breast augmentation, Sara found that her confidence was renewed and she loved her body again. She explains, “Now I feel like a new and amazing person. I am just so happy with everything!”
RealSelf is another platform that highlights the stories of real patients, serving as a sort of social media platform for people who are having, or are interested in having, a cosmetic procedure. With RealSelf, community members can share their stories from start to finish, including photos from throughout their makeover journey. The great thing about RealSelf is that it allows people to share their individual transformations with people who are going through similar experiences.
No matter the procedure, the bottom line is that cosmetic surgery does more than enhance a person’s appearance — it also enhances confidence and self-esteem. Plastic surgery can be an integral aspect of changing a person’s lifestyle from the outside in.