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Have you ever wished you had the beauty of Helen of Troy? Have you ever dreamed your face could launch a thousand ships? Well cosmetic surgery turns that dream into a reality. If the price is right cosmetic surgery can give the consumer the power to transform himself into a model of perfection. Cosmetic surgery is one of the fastest growing industries in America.
Cosmetic surgery is one of the two branches of plastic surgery. It attempts to improve the appearance of aging tissue or unattractive parts of the body (Georgiade 4). Cosmetic surgery is a word derived from the Greek word plastikos, meaning “fit for molding” (Tesar 67 & 68). The field of plastic surgery is the most rapidly growing specialty in American medicine, and the growth of plastic surgeons between the years 160-000 increased 1100 percent (“The dangers of…” 4 & 5). According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the number of cosmetic surgeries for people ages 51-64 years old in the United States increased more than 50 percent from 16-1. Nine percent of all cosmetic procedures are performed on men. Liposuction is number one, nose jobs rank second, and eyelid surgeries are third. The number of cosmetic procedures performed on seniors in the U.S. also increased more than 50 percent from 16-1. The most popular procedure for both age groups is eyelid surgery, face-lifts, liposuction, and skin resurfacing (“Going under the knife…” 1-).
About 15 of every 100 cosmetic operations are performed on teenagers. The most popular among teens are nose jobs, ear surgery, male breast reduction, dermabrasion, and
liposuction (Brynie 16). According to the ASPRS over million women in the United States have had breast implant surgery (“The dangers of…” 1& ). Most cosmetic surgeries are not historically covered by insurance (“Going under the knife” 4).
If you are someone that has a problem with your physical appearance, there’s a good chance that there is a cosmetic procedure to correct it. One the most common types of cosmetic surgeries is the face-lift. The face-lift promises to eliminate smile lines, saggy jowls, and double chins. In the surgical operation, an incision is made inside and behind the ear skin separating from underlying tissue, and then skin is redrapped higher on the face. A face-lift costs about $,500, and lasts 10 years (Hu 8).
For women in their mid 40s to early 50s, a mid-face lift is a great alternative to the total face-lift. A mid-face lift elevates the brow and soft tissues of the cheek, and is best for a person whose neck and lower face need no tightening (“ New in cosmetic…” 1). In a brow-lift small incisions are made above the hairline and skin and soft tissues are elevated then skin is repositioned. A brow-lift costs $4,000 t0 $8,000 and lasts indefinitely (Hu 8).
A cheek or chin implant surgery is carried out by wrapping a silicone implant around the cheek or chin. These surgeries last indefinitely. It costs $1,000 t0 $5,000 for a chin implant, and $,000 to $,000 for a cheek implant (8 & 40). A nose job is when a plastic surgeon trims down, re shapes, or augments bone and cartilage in the nose. A nose job costs $,000 to $7,000 and lasts indefinitely (8 & 40). Nose jobs are ranked 5th among most common cosmetic surgeries for men (Brynie 14).
The American Society for Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery estimates over 15,000 women a year now receives breast implants. Twenty-five percent of the implants are for post cancer reconstruction, and over 100,000 implants are done on women who choose to enlarge their breasts (“The dangers of…” 1). Breast augmentation surgery costs from $,000 to $6,000. The implant is placed behind the chest muscle through an incision made in the armpit or in the crease under the breast. All silicone implants are flexible ().
Liposuction is the 4th most popular cosmetic procedure among women, and the rd among men (Brynie 14). Liposuction is performed by using a vibrating instrument to break up fat inside a patient. A mixture of local anesthesia and adrenaline is infused into the area being operated on to reduce bleeding and bruising, and then unwanted fat is suctioned out. Liposuction last indefinitely, unless the patient gains more than 15 pounds, and it costs $4,000 t0 $7,000 (Hu 40). Both conventional and the newer ultrasonic type of liposuction can be performed on hips, thighs, tummies, breasts, knees, ankles, and parts of the face. These are contouring operations, not ones to remove pounds although some may become thinner (“Novel liposuction…” ). A great new trick called lipofilling makes use of the fat removed by liposuction to build up other areas such as filling out cheeks on the face, or by redefining a jaw line. This new method of liposuction was inspired by patients (“Snip, suction, stretch, & truss…” 1).
For a breast reduction, a small incision is made and excess fat is removed by liposuction. A breast reduction lasts indefinitely and is covered by insurance. It costs $6,000 to 10,000, and is a popular surgery among men as well as women (Hu 40). A tummy tuck is an operation done by removing excess skin and fat through a long incision near the pubic hairline. Next, muscles are tightened to achieve a smooth surface (40). The collagen used for collagen injections is purified from cow skin and is used for various cosmetic purposes. Bovine, isolagen, or dermalogen collagen is used to plump up wrinkles on the face, give lips a fuller look, or diminish acne scars. Injections last months, and prices vary depending on the type of collagen used. Bovine collagen costs $00, isolagen costs $1,000, and dermalogen costs $400 (Brynie 15).
Dermabrasion is the surgical removal of the surface layer of skin by high-speed sanding. Doctors use an abrasive wheel or wire brush, rotating at high speeds to scrape away skin. The procedure is done to remove acne scars, wrinkles, tattoos, and pre cancerous lesions. A popular alternative to dermabrasion is resurfacing with a carbon dioxide laser (Brynie 15). Laser resurfacing and chemical peels are carried out by glycolic or trichloracetic acid peels that burn away the top layer of skin, and then the skin on the patients face is vaporized by laser resurfacing. A chemical peel lasts a few months and laser resurfacing lasts a year. Chemical peels cost $,000 and laser resurfacing costs $5,000 (Hu 40). Retin-A treatment was recently sought out by 00,000 men and women to improve skin texture, smooth wrinkles, and cure acne scars. Retin-A surgery is the number 1 cosmetic treatment for women and number for men (Brynie 1 & 14).
The reasons people have cosmetic surgery varies from person to person. Often patients decide to receive cosmetic surgery because they are on a quest of perfection. Many customers feel a boost of self-esteem after their surgery (Plastic Surgery 1). More often than not, today’s face-lift clients are fitness buffs who view a little surgical correction as the finishing touch to their efforts at the health club (“Snip, suction, stretch, & truss…” 1). Plastic surgeon, Dr. Michael Clinton, stated “Because people are living better, they want to look as god as they feel. Look around your local gym. A lot of guys in their 50s and 60s are working out. Some turn to cosmetic surgery because they want to look as good as they feel (“Going under the knife…” ).”
Ultrasonic liposuction is gaining national attention for its capability to allow doctors to remove fat from more obese people (“Novel liposuction…” 1-). Youngsters in Britain and the U.S. are electing to go under the knife in growing numbers. There are no legal minimums on age and often no counseling is given. One observer found a clinic admitting to have given implants to girls as young as 15. Sandra, a 17-year-old patient, stated this about her newfound love of her implants “I had really little breasts and felt embarrassed. I’m more confident and wear low tops (“Young adolescents seek…” 6b).”
Each year thousands of men undergo breast reduction surgery to treat gynecomatia, an excessive development of breasts in males (Tesar 6). Older men also resort to hair transplants to correct male pattern baldness (71). An explanation as to why Americans have cosmetic surgery was best summed up by Steven Soll, a L.A. financial planner, “I could go out and spend $0,000 on a car to make myself feel better, or I could spend $,000 to change something that has always bothered me (“Snip, suction, stretch, & truss…” ).
Although cosmetic surgery helps many people, sometimes there are problems. In a face-lift there can be bleeding under the skin, nerve damage, infection, and hair loss (Hu 8 & 40). Complications are rare but some patients experience scatting, bleeding under the skin, or damage to facial nerves resulting in loss of feeling or muscular control. Extensive burning is normal (Brynie 18). In a brow-lift eyebrows can be moved too high and nerve damage may lead to facial numbness (Hu 8 &40). For cheek or chin implants there is a slight chance of infection and the implant may be crooked (8 & 40). A hematoma, swelling due to built up blood under skin, may occur after a nose job. Also, there may be internal scarring (8 & 40).
Breast implants can cause infection, hemorrhage, and adverse reactions to anesthesia (“The dangers of…” ). The most common problem in breast implants is capsular contracture. Capsular contracture is the contraction of the fibrous capsule that forms around all devices implanted in the body. This causes the breast to become firm or hard. It is estimated that capsular contracture occurs 5 percent of the time. To treat this problem the implant can be removed, or manual compression of the breast can be done to break the capsule and soften the breast implant (“The dangers of…” ). The fear of the breast implant rupturing is also a big problem. Bleeding and seepage of the silicone gel through the containing envelope is a universal characteristic of gel filled implants. Systemic illness has been associated with reactions to breast implants, and breast cancer detection is reportedly impaired by implants (4).
Temporary numbness, bruising, itching, small scars, and uneven skin tone are after effects of liposuction (Hu 40). In breast reductions the most serious risks are loss of sensitivity or pigment around the nipples and poor scar healing (40).
Cosmetic surgery attempts to improve the appearance of aging tissue or unattractive parts of the body. There are many different types of cosmetic procedures. Many people undergo cosmetic surgery to raise their self-confidence, or to improve an unattractive body part; however, for every procedure there is a risk involved. The cosmetic surgery industry is growing at a rapid pace because surgery is affordable and attainable. Some may still ask themselves why is cosmetic surgery so popular. It is because the quest for perfection will never come to an end.
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