People have many misconceptions about plastic surgery, perhaps more than any other area of medical procedures. Though the term may bring to mind the material plastic or images of individuals trying to attain some Barbie-like appearance, plastic surgery was termed as such to refer to the Greek word, “plastikos,” which means “to shape.” In fact, most plastic surgery procedures include a cosmetic element, yet focus on reconstruction. Here are some common myths about plastic surgery and the truths behind them.
MYTH: Plastic surgery and cosmetic surgery mean the same thing
TRUTH: The terms “plastic surgery” and “cosmetic surgery” are often used interchangeably, but they do not mean the same thing. Cosmetic surgery is a very general term and refers to making adjustments to improve upon appearance. Anyone with a medical license can call themselves a cosmetic surgeon, yet a plastic surgeon must undergo special training and be certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. Certified plastic surgeons are capable of performing both cosmetic procedures and reconstructive procedures to correct for both form and function.
MYTH: Plastic surgery is scar-free
TRUTH: After any incision, a scar results. However, plastic surgeons are skilled in making scars smaller, more refined and overall less visible. The visibility of the scar will ultimately be determined by how the incision is closed, how it is cared for after the operation and the location of the incision. Plastic surgeons can give advice on how to care for the incision area post-operation to best reduce scarring and make incisions strategically to hide the scar, but some evidence of the procedure is inevitable.
MYTH: Plastic surgery is all about vanity
TRUTH: Plastic surgery gets a bad reputation for focusing only on improving a strictly defined kind of physical beauty – celebrities and reality television put breast augmentations, facelifts, liposuction and Botox center-stage. However, plastic surgery covers a broader range of surgeries, including the correction of birth defects, post-cancer breast reconstruction and reconstruction after serious, damaging injuries.
Plastic surgeons are trained not only to have an eye for aesthetics, but also to care about the functional outcomes of a procedure. Ultimately, plastic surgery is a personal choice that can improve a person’s quality of life and self-esteem, helping people feel good about themselves and thus, the world around them.
MYTH: Cost is the only barrier to plastic surgery
TRUTH: Because plastic surgery is often elective, health insurers frequently won’t cover such procedures. However, plastic surgery is becoming increasingly more affordable for middle-income earners, even while paying out of pocket. With cost being less of an obstacle to getting plastic surgery, it is important to realize that there are other barriers before signing up for a procedure. Plastic surgery alters an intimate part of a person – their appearance. Though these changes are mostly desirable, no surgery is going to be perfect, and results may not meet up to a patient’s expectations. Pre-surgical counseling will determine whether an individual is emotionally ready for surgery and understands the gravity of the situation with regards to cost, expected results and projected rehabilitation needs.
This article was written by Samantha who works with Cosmetic & Plastic Surgeons of Minneapolis, Minnesota. Click here for more information.