Deciding to have elective plastic surgery is a deeply personal decision. When I meet with patients, I try to get an understanding of their needs and wishes to determine why they are choosing to change their appearance. As a plastic surgeon, it’s my job to identify whether or not someone is a good candidate for plastic surgery. And those who are not good candidates usually want plastic surgery for the wrong reasons.
Why Do Women & Men Get Plastic Surgery? The ‘Wrong’ Reasons
What are the “wrong” reasons for getting cosmetic surgery? Let’s take a closer look at a few celebrity examples.
They Want an Unnaturally ‘Plastic’ Look
Choosing plastic surgery to look Photoshopped or unnatural usually results in dissatisfaction. Celebrity Kylie Jenner is an example. Kylie made headlines when she decided to remove her overly-done lip fillers. The decision created a stir among fans and followers who wondered why she wanted to go natural and if big lips were “out.”
The truth is, Kylie had lip fillers for the wrong reasons. Instead of using dermal fillers to restore lost volume or to enhance her natural lips, she wanted to achieve what I call a “plastic look.” While this may have helped her makeup line sell more lip products, the look was not flattering or natural. Ultimately, she realized she wasn’t happy with the “duck lip” look any longer.
They Want To Fix Imagined Flaws
It’s not unreasonable to want to change something about your appearance to feel more confident. In fact, that’s a perfectly normal and healthy reason to choose plastic surgery. But choosing to have plastic surgery for self-improvement is much different than choosing to have plastic surgery because you feel as though you need to be “fixed.” The latter can get into the unhealthy territory—as it did for transgender celebrity Jessica Alves, formerly known as the Human Ken Doll.
She had her first plastic surgery procedure at age 17 to correct gynecomastia, also known as “man boobs” (long before she transitioned). Tormented and bullied as a child, Alves had a very shattered self-image and suffered from body dysmorphia. One procedure to correct a medical condition turned into more than 60 surgeries to “fix” issues that weren’t really there. Her obsession has cost her nearly $1 million dollars, jeopardized her nose (as seen on Botched), and almost risked her life.
Now that she has transitioned, she is still focused on plastic surgery, aiming for the “Human Barbie look.”
They Want To Look Like Someone Else
If a client comes to me saying they want to look like another person, that’s a red flag that they are having plastic surgery for the wrong reason.
One internet celebrity who is clearly trying to look like someone else is Valeria Lukyanova—another “Human Barbie.” Valeria claims to have had only 1 procedure (breast augmentation), but it’s clear she’s had many more. Her body proportions are cartoonish (reportedly 39-18-34), and she uses blue contacts and exaggerated makeup to make her eyes look much larger and more doll-like.
Admiring an idol is one thing, but trying to become that idol is another. If the goal is to change who you are, as Valeria has done, then plastic surgery is not a good choice.
What Are the Right Reasons for Plastic Surgery?
There are many beneficial reasons people have plastic surgery—whether to rebuild the breasts with breast reconstruction after mastectomy or remove large amounts of fat with liposuction. Here are a few of those healthier reasons for choosing cosmetic surgery:
Look and Feel Your Best
People opt for surgeries like rhinoplasty, tummy tucks, or subtle facelifts to enhance or refine their appearance, often aiming to boost self-esteem and confidence. You can see how the patient pictured below might feel better about herself now that she has shed the extra skin around her midsection.
Aligning Your Appearance With Your Outlook
As you age, your skin begins to sag, jowls form, and wrinkles start etching themselves into your face, often giving you a tired, haggard appearance that belies how vibrant and youthful you still feel. Many people opt for procedures like facelifts, neck lifts, or eyelid surgeries to better reflect their energetic, vital personalities.
Correcting Functional Issues
Some plastic surgeries are done to alleviate physical discomfort or functional issues. For example, a woman with very large breasts might choose reduction surgery to alleviate back or neck pain and make movement more comfortable. Similarly, a man with gynecomastia (enlarged breasts) might choose male breast reduction to improve their comfort while exercising or wearing more form-fitting shirts.
Contouring Your Body After Weight Loss
After significant weight loss, the skin often doesn’t shrink back fully, leading to excess sagging skin. This surplus skin can rub and chafe, leading to uncomfortable rashes and potential infections. It can also impair exercise and routine activities. Procedures like tummy tucks and arm lifts remove this excess skin to improve daily life, reduce health risks, and reveal all the hard work you put in to lose weight.
Looking out for the best interests of my patients is always a top priority. I want to make sure you are choosing plastic surgery for the right reasons to protect your safety, health, and happiness. By carefully listening to your goals, developing a personalized plan, and explaining all your care options, I hope to provide you with a safe and rewarding experience.