The Basics About Cosmetic Surgery

Today, for better or worse, looks matter.  An underwhelming appearance, which can be a result of any of a variety of factors, is likely to result in at least a small degree of social and other consequences, and can often have devastating effects.

The main factors affecting appearance are aging and genetics.  When it comes to genetics, of course, different individuals have different experiences.  Everyone’s features are unique, and in some cases these features are cause for concern.  Facial features aren’t the only aspect of the appearance affected by heredity.  The benefits of diet and exercise are only part of what determines the shape of the body.  In other words, even with rigorous, regimented physical activity and a nutritious diet, most people have a hard time eliminating fat deposits from certain areas; these often include the legs, the torso, and the neck.  Aging, of course, leaves its mark on everyone without exception.

Cosmetic surgery is really the only way to deal effectively with many aesthetic problems.  This isn’t as dire a situation as it may appear, though, because cosmetic surgery is actually very widely practiced, and continues to become more common as technologies and techniques continue to move forward.  Just about any aesthetic issue can be addressed through cosmetic surgery.

Even though technology and education have a major impact today, cosmetic surgery is, in fact, an ancient concept.  It is thought to have originally been developed in India around 2000 BC.  It wasn’t until the advent of the Hollywood film industry, though, that cosmetic surgery entered the popular lexicon; then, like now, many film actors and actresses gained their famous features with the help of cosmetic surgery.  Today, a wide variety of procedures are widely practiced, and are affordable enough that millions of people have undergone cosmetic surgery in the last few years alone.

In the US alone, in the year 2008, according to statistics collected by the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, over 1,700,000 cosmetic surgical procedures were performed.  90 percent of patients were female, although the number of men seeking cosmetic surgery continues to increase yearly as well, which may be in part because corresponding stigmas have become less pronounced and men are now expected to take care of their looks as well. The most common cosmetic surgeries are breast enhancement, liposuction, blepharoplasty, which is cosmetic surgery for the eyelids, abdominoplasty (also known as the “tummy tuck”), and breast reduction, while procedures most often performed on men are liposuction, rhinoplasty (cosmetic surgery for the nose), blepharoplasty, gynecomastia (male breast reduction), and hair transplantation.

In terms of age, the group most likely to undergo cosmetic surgery are people aged 35-50; this is because the main factor leading to people seeking cosmetic surgical procedures is aging, as genetics-related aesthetic issues are usually addressed at a younger age.  Over 70% of individuals report that they are not ashamed to say that they have undergone a cosmetic surgical procedure, meaning that cosmetic surgery is a socially accepted practice.

Cosmetic surgical procedures themselves take varying amounts of time.  Similarly, the period of time needed in order to achieve full recovery from a specific procedure corresponds to the extensiveness of the operation itself; some procedures take as little as two weeks of recovery time before the patient can return to his or her daily activities, while certain procedures may entail months of complete rest.  During recovery, it is important that the patient adheres to the instructions outlined by the surgeon with regard to how to treat the area (using dressings, compression garments, ointments and so on), which activities to avoid (for example, strenuous exercise or physical activity must usually be avoided for at least two weeks), clothing-related issues (following any type of surgery, loose-fitting clothing is almost always recommended; following a face lift, the patient must wear button-down shirts because t-shirts and sweatshirts need to be pulled over the face to be worn and can cause damage to the face when being put on), and dietary and other issues (smoking, for example, must be avoided following any type of surgery).

Any type of surgery involves some risk of complications.  Scarring will result from any method which requires incisions.  Swelling can remain in the short term, while long-term swelling or irritation indicates a problem.  Some individuals may suffer an allergic reaction to anaesthetic, which is used in the majority of surgical procedures.  Individuals with certain medical conditions, particularly cardiovascular problems, may not be eligible for cosmetic surgery.  Consult with a physician in order to find out if cosmetic surgery is a good option for you.