You Can Have a Fresh Start Thanks to Plastic Surgery
by Cosmetics Expert Mike Dune
More and more, people are choosing to express themselves, at least in part, with their bodies. As tattoos, piercings, and cosmetic procedures become more common, though, so does the occasional desire to repair undesired results.
Cue the plastic surgeons. In recent years, a number of different aesthetic services have arisen to help people deal with the regret they feel when aging, lifestyle changes, or bad results make them rethink earlier cosmetic choices. Take a look at some of the ways plastic surgeons serve this burgeoning demographic.
Tattoos used to be reserved for sailors and circus folk, but these days, they are a common form of personal expression. According to a recent article in The Economist, 1 in 5 adults in the U.S. has a tattoo, and that number is 2 in 5 among 30-somethings. As tattoos have become de-stigmatized, the numbers show a huge surge in ink — and ink regret — in recent decades. Florida Today reported in August that 17% of U.S. residents with tattoos regretted getting them.
Meanwhile, new laser devices for tattoo removal are getting the FDA nod all the time. The PicoSure® laser system from Cynosure® is among the most popular options. It can erase as much as 75% of a tattoo in a single treatment, if administered properly. Most qualified dermatologists and plastic surgeons, however, recommend a series of 4 to 6 treatments for the best results. Older laser systems required as many as 15 to 20 uncomfortable treatment sessions, and they still did little for stubborn blue and green inks. Today’s lasers do it all in much less time and much more comfortably.
Although tattoos are more common, some people still have negative associations with them. Many people find hard-to-cover tattoos keep them from securing jobs. Even the U.S. Army tightened its policy on visible tattoos in March. Some plastic surgeons have taken to giving discounts to people who would benefit from a tattoo removal, such as former inmates and veterans looking for work. According to statistics from the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, all these factors added up to more than 45,000 tattoo removals last year.
In the same vein as tattoo removal is the demand for repairing earlobes that have been stretched out by earrings. This procedure used to be common mostly among older women with stretched lobes after decades of wearing heavy jewelry. More common these days, though, is a variation on the procedure to repair damage from gauges. Although not as trendy as they once were, gauges are usually coin-sized rings (sometimes much larger) that are inserted in the earlobes, leaving gaping holes and drooping skin afterward.
According to RealSelf.com, an online plastic surgery forum, repairing these holes is a simple procedure that usually costs less than $1,000. Users of that site give the procedure a satisfaction rating of 90%, helping people close up their holes and erase their gauge regrets with a quick, outpatient treatment.
Revision Plastic Surgery
Another diminishing bias in the U.S. is the one against cosmetic surgery. More people every year opt for breast implants, liposuction, and other plastic surgeries that alter their looks. And, just as with tattoo removal, as the number of plastic surgery procedures rises, so do plastic surgery regrets.
For instance, consider Tia’s revision plastic surgery story. The New Jersey woman lived with the results of a botched tummy tuck and liposuction until she decided to trust Dr. Evan Sorokin to perform a re-do of her other surgeon’s work. According to his website, Sorokin frequently performs revisionary liposuction and breast augmentation procedures, and he was able to give Tia the results she originally sought.
Tia’s story is not uncommon, unfortunately. Revision plastic surgery procedures often cost tens of thousands of dollars and require recovery periods similar to the original surgery. Reputable plastic surgery groups say best the ways for patients to avoid results they might regret include staying away from “fad” procedures and making sure their surgeons are board certified and highly experienced.
If you’ve made some physical alterations and feel the occasional pang of regret over it, check out board-certified plastic surgeons near you.