There have been many myths surrounding aesthetic surgeries or, as they’re more commonly known, plastic surgery. With the level of celebrity involvement, it’s not surprising that plastic surgery has been thrust into the limelight for everyone to offer their opinion.
I want to shed some light on a few myths around plastic/aesthetic surgery and try to debunk the most common ones I hear in my practice or from what I read in the media.
Myth 1: You only get plastic surgery if you’re vain.
It’s easy to see how this myth got started. The literal definition of aesthetic is ‘beauty or to be concerned with beauty’ and its nickname of plastic surgery emotes the same.
However, the truth is quite different. Aesthetic surgery covers a range of procedures aimed at:
* Helping patients with congenital or accident-induced structural defects, such as reconstructive limb surgeries or scar revision in contractures post burns as a promise to a new lease of life, both physical and mental
* Breast reconstructive surgery post cancer/ mastectomy to build back confidence
* Gender reassignment surgeries to make someone feel like themselves
* And even babies with a cleft lip or palate which can lead to lifelong complications if not rectified early on through aesthetic surgery
Unfortunately, this is the myth that can make many people who have gone through plastic surgery feel ostracised or embarrassed about a medical procedure that can improve their quality of life.
Myth 2: Only the rich get plastic surgery
While it was known to be true in the past that we mostly associate aesthetic surgery with celebrities and the lavish lifestyle, today, it’s no longer the case. During its infancy, aesthetic surgery was expensive, but over the years, technology has evolved and become more widespread. There are new procedures and alternatives available that don’t require a significant financial investment and offer payment plans or deductions, which makes plastic surgery a lot more affordable.
There are also plenty of pro bono (free) surgeries happening every day for special cases and circumstances that help people in need to improve their lives.
Myth 3: Plastic surgery is just for women
This myth does have some truth to it, because women still account for around 70 per cent of plastic surgery procedures in the UAE. So, you would consider them more likely to have it done. However, recent trends are showing an increasing number of men seeking treatments as well as the 30 per cent of the existing population.
Aesthetic surgery was never reserved just for women. But while there are many procedures aimed at women, men make up the majority of patients who undergo hair transplants, chin augmentation, calf augmentation, and the pectoral implant procedure. Ear, nose, and eyelid surgery as well as liposuction and abdominoplasty have all been sought by an increasing number of male patients over the years as well.
Myth 4: Liposuction is a substitute for weight loss
Liposuction is one procedure that is probably most misunderstood and considered notorious, but it’s really not intended to be an alternative for weight loss. Liposuction is performed to remove unwanted deposits of fat, usually caused by genetic predisposition, obesity or other medical reasons.
During the procedure, adipose (fat) tissue is removed from the deep fat layer. The cells being removed do not grow back again, meaning that the fat cannot reappear in the same area after the procedure.
Without proper diet and exercise, the person can get still get fat in other parts of the body that weren’t treated, or by redeposition of fat in the cells that were not removed. If you want to have continued benefits after the procedure, you will need to take care of your diet and physical activity which is why it’s not recommended as an aesthetic fix for those who don’t have long-term health plans and goals.
Myth 5: Plastic surgery lasts forever
Contrary to belief, aesthetic surgery doesn’t last forever. Plastic surgery can erase the mistakes of the past, but they cannot prevent the mistakes of the future. For most procedures, the effects last for several years, and some even decades, depending on the procedure. But there are several factors that will influence its longevity and it certainly won’t last forever.
Our bodies constantly change over the years and medical science is not yet at a place where it can completely mimic the incredible human body or reverse aging. So, your augmentation or adaptation can’t necessarily sustain these changes.
A common example of this is with breast augmentation. We tend to advise that the procedure needs to be repeated in around 10 years. However, if the patient has multiple children, or loses a lot of weight in this time, the skin around the area might be less subtle and therefore the effects of the procedure may last for a lesser time. The same goes for face lifts or hair transplantation.
Ultimately, by sticking to a healthy diet and lifestyle and maintaining your skin and body through simple non-surgical procedures, you can make the effects last longer. If you decide to go for a procedure, try to have realistic expectations, and remember you might be required to repeat it further down the line.
Hopefully, this has helped to set the record straight for some of the plastic surgery myths that are floating around out there.
(Dr Mansi Mukherjee is Head of Medical Services & Innovation at Kaya Skin Clinic Middle East.)
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