22 Aug 2014

Criticisms of Cosmetic Surgery

Cosmetic Surgery

Looking your best helps you to feel your best. It also helps you to make the most of your opportunities both socially and at work. Diet, exercise, and ‘choosing the right parents’ are important contributors to achieving good health and appearance, and many people also include cosmetic surgery in their formula for success.

The increasing popularity of cosmetic surgery has provoked some criticism, and it’s worth reflecting on whether this is justified. Are efforts to improve one’s appearance a sign of insecurity or shallow character? When you dress in the morning or put on deodorant, you are doing so in part to be appealing (or at least inoffensive!) to others. Concern for the impression you make with others is a good quality, provided it is not taken to an extreme. Paradoxically, cosmetic surgery allows you to be less vain, and to focus on areas of your life other than appearance.

Is cosmetic surgery too extreme? Examples of extreme cosmetic surgery are popular in the media, but these are exceptions that typically arise when celebrities bribe a surgeon to do an ill-advised operation by paying an outrageous fee.

Perhaps we are critical of cosmetic surgery because it is unfair. Does cosmetic surgery ‘raise the bar’, so that average-looking people lose out to those artificially enhanced by surgery? Yes, but why should naturally-attractive people enjoy an unfair advantage over the rest of us? If we can accept enhancing test scores with tutors and athletic performance with coaches, we should accept cosmetic enhancement with surgery. Studies have also shown that most cosmetic surgery is performed for people trying to look average, not exceptional.

Is cosmetic surgery too expensive? Cost is a consideration, but instead of viewing cosmetic surgery as an expense, understand your appearance as an asset, and cosmetic procedures are intended to increase the value of that asset. Studies have repeatedly demonstrated that whether in a job interview, a singles bar or a court room, others will make decisions about you based on your appearance.

Might you be unhappy with the results of your surgery? Not likely-statistics show that approximately 95% of cosmetic surgery patients rate their procedure as ‘worth it’, and experience subtle, balanced, beautiful results from cosmetic surgery that quietly enhance their lives.

Cosmetic surgery isn’t right or wrong. A thorough consultation with an expert surgeon will help you decide if it has a place in your life.

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Michael Kreidstein, MD, MSc, FRCS(C)

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