For the past few decades, the evolution of beauty has brought a huge metamorphosis in people's perspective about their appearance. People are more concern about their outer beauty than anything else. This is not only limited for woman but man at this decade of century has brain washed and actively involved themselves in this culture too, which is camouflaging imperfections. A survey had found out that man in US had spent $4.8 million on grooming products in year 2006 and there was an increase of 42% from year 2001 to year 2006 (Forbes, 2007). In addition, in this beauty-obsessed society, there are also people who choose to go under knife for an enthralling body feature. Cosmetic surgery has become one of the most popular trends all over the world. One might ask, what is cosmetic surgery? Cosmetic surgery is an aesthetic surgery that performed to improve appearance, rather than for medical reasons (thefreedictionary.com, 2003).
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Whenever you read newspaper, magazine or switch on the television, you are likely to see something which is related to cosmetic surgery. Reality TV shows such as "Extreme Makeover", MTV series "I Want a Famous Face", Italian show "Scalpel: Nobody's Perfect" and Fox's "The Swan" have also lead to an overwhelming popularity on cosmetic surgery especially among young boys and girls who are dissatisfied with their current look and want to look posh and perky like a pop star. According to Elsevier, the TV shows have lead "youngster to have cosmetic surgery" and American Society of Plastic Surgeons (2007) study proves that 57% of patients who chose to undergo cosmetic surgery were high-intensity viewers of reality TV shows related to cosmetic surgery. Moreover, for country like Korea, undergoes cosmetic surgery is a culture and they known it as "The Korean Way" (Yoo, J., n.d.). Most of the young generation today will go under knife in order to pursuit 'perfect beauty' and this can be proven by a study conducted by Korean Plastic Surgery (2009). The study shows that "eight out of 10 Korean women over the age of 18 feel they need cosmetic surgery, and one out of two has undergone Korean plastic surgery at least once".
American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) Reports (2007) also shows that cosmetic plastic surgery has increased 69% in the first decade of new millennium and in year 2009, there were 210,000 cosmetic surgery procedures were performed on teenagers from age 13 to 19 (Thompson, V., 2010). It goes without saying that cosmetic surgery has become so commonplace that the age of patient involved in the cosmetic surgery getting younger and younger. Teens often have unreal expectations. They are not satisfy with their appearance and intend to have glamorous beauty and flawless look. Ergo, teens go for cosmetic surgery and treat it as a godsend. For instance, Kate (2008) had a breast implant when she was 19 years old.
In year 2008, Queensland, a state in Australia had banned teenagers under 18 from having surgery for purely cosmetic reason (ABC News, 2008) as there is a distinct sociological trend towards valuing beauty which leads to an increase in cosmetic surgery among teenagers. The question is, is it worth for teens to go under knife in pursuit of 'perfect beauty'? The truth is teenagers should be discouraged to go for cosmetic surgery as it comes at risk. Besides, they are far more too young for that as it might interrupt emotional and physical maturity and it is a high-priced procedure.
This research is not confined in certain countries only but all around the world.
2.0 Body of Content
2.1 Cosmetic Surgery carries some risks of harm physically and mentally, even of death.
Opponents of the statement claim that cosmetic surgery is extremely safe with the help of advance technology and medication. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) reckons that the mortality rate of cosmetic surgery is the lowest among all the surgical procedures. Roughly around 1.754 Ã- %, which is one in 57,000 procedures, while according to the study conducted by medical journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, the death rate is slightly higher, which is one in 51, 459 operations.
Furthermore, adverse party also states that modern anesthesia is safe despite of the story you heard before. This is due to certain reasons, for example, qualified anesthesiologist, excellent surgeon and modern equipments used in the operating room.
There is nothing wrong with wanting to become beautiful or perfect. However, undergoing cosmetic surgery should not be one of the options. Supporters of this argument claim that the statement "cosmetic surgery is extremely safe with the help of advance technology and medication" is a falsehood. Cosmetic surgery is still a surgery which carries out in the operating room and they believe that every surgical carries some common risks.
Plastic Surgery Los Angeles pointed out that "there can be complications to any surgery" even though you are operated by a professional and qualified cosmetic surgeon. The most common complications is the used of general anesthesia. Anesthesia brings serious health effects; patients may experience drowsiness, feeble or weary for few days after having general anesthesia. According to Cassidy P. (2008), seven to 12% of total cosmetic surgeries had been reported of death as a result of cosmetic surgery complications. The Star (2008) had reported that Datin Fatimah Wan Chik, wife of former Labuan MP, Datuk Suhaili Abdul Rahman had died due to cosmetic surgery complications.
Besides, infection and bleeding are also one of the most obvious shortcomings not only in cosmetic surgery but in all kind of surgical processes. There will be two in every 10 patients who suffered from infection and bleeding, which is 20%. Sometimes, scarring can happen due to bacteria attack. Bacteria can enter the body during surgery or after surgery through suture, drain sides and open wounds.
Surprisingly, cosmetic surgery acts like drugs, it has the potential to cause addiction (iloveindia.com, n.d.) especially for those who started to go under knife at young age. Psychologist had found out that most of the people who underwent cosmetic surgery were most likely to suffer from oppressive emotional and psychological disturbance. Doctor Iqbal Ahmed (2010) asserts that seven to 15% of patients who underwent cosmetic surgery will entrap into the psychological abysm of Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD). BDD is "a mental disorder characterized by distorted body image and obsessions about perceived physical shortcomings" (Dictionary.com, 2011). Those who suffered from BDD will tend to undergo a lot of cosmetic surgeries from surgeon to surgeon. However, the patients will never satisfy with their appearance and think that their body image is so distorted that it will never get fixed by one cosmetic surgery. This disorder can also known as "mirror lies". When they look into the mirror, they will never see themselves in the right size or feature even though actually they are just nice. Thus, teens should be discouraged to go for cosmetic surgery as it comes with risks and if there was a faulty, they will regret for their entire life.
2.2 Cosmetic Surgery interrupts teen's physical and emotional maturity.
Opponents of the issue insist that cosmetic surgery not only improves one's self image but also boost their self-esteem at the same time. To illustrate, Caitlin Clemons, 18, describes that she will go for cosmetic surgery and believes that cosmetic surgery will boost her self-esteem as she knows how cosmetic surgery can magically change her life after seeing her sister and mother underwent breast enlargement and how happy they are after the surgery (cited by Thompson, V., 2010). In addition, some also believe that the capabilities in cosmetic surgery await for all those who would like to see a better version of themselves physically and mentally.
Opponents of this argument maybe correct, cosmetic surgery will boost self-esteem and indirectly increase their level of happiness. However, these modifications tend to be short lived. Most of the people who have cosmetic surgery tend to experience an increase in level of happiness for one or two years, after which they return to their previous level of happiness and are about as happy as they were before the surgery. This theory same goes to the lottery winners. Hence, the emotional effect of cosmetic surgery can only last for short period of time.
43% of the ladies interviewed stated that they would offer surgery for their kids if their look was the main reason of why they were being bullied (Leaton, R., 2011). This statement is pretty pathetic as the supporters of the issue believe that surely there are other non-invasive ways to help the teens to boost their self-esteem so that they can stand up and deal with bullies. Self-esteem is based upon how you feel and think about yourself and not merely according to one's appearance. Karen Batchelor (2010), a speaker on social media and midlife issues once said that, "When you develop your inner beauty, your physical beauty seems to miraculously improve as well!". Hence, cosmetic surgery should not be seen as a quick fix to boost self-esteem and confidence because true confidence comes from inner personality and not outward appearance.
It is also worth mentioning that in some cases, cosmetic surgery actually lowers one's self-esteem and level of happiness. "Surgeons note that once a person alters one part of their body, they begin to look at flaws in other part of the body. This can make a person fells less happy with their body than before they had any surgery" and therefore, lowering in level of self-esteem happens (eruptingmind.com, 2011). In fact, the greatest failing in cosmetic surgery lies in a person's potential inability to raise their self-image to match their new look. The tendency to look to superficial treatments such as cosmetic surgery merely reflects an unwillingness to look within. To be sure, cosmetic surgery can only solve the problem temporarily and meanwhile it actually worsens the situation. Therefore, it is clear that cosmetic surgery interrupts the development of teens' mental maturity.
Furthermore, supporters of the statement also assert that cosmetic surgery disrupts teen's natural growth. Teenagers have immature body which is not fully develop as human body will only fully develop at the age of 25. For instance, "Queensland Premier Anna Bligh has spoken out about teenagers who choose plastic surgery, saying that deciding to go under the knife is a decision "best left until one is an adult." " (BellaSugar, 2007). Teens are still growing, thus cosmetic surgery should not be an option for them as firstly, it can cause growth retardation, it's dangerous and it's unnecessary. If they waited until 25 years old, they might satisfy with their body during that time as their body is fully developed. In year 2008, Australia's health minister also conceded that teenagers are still growing and they are still developing. They should not have a body shape-changing procedure until their growth is completed. This statement can be clearly proved to be true when Queensland banned teenagers under 18 years old from having cosmetic surgery (ABC News, 2008).
In short, teenagers should be discouraged to go under knife to pursuit 'perfect' beauty when perfect is undefined. Besides, it only provides temporarily emotional relief and satisfaction. On top of that, cosmetic surgery causes growth retardation.
2.3 Cosmetic Surgery is a high-priced procedure.
Those who do not share the view that cosmetic surgery is a high-priced procedure point out that the price of cosmetic surgery worth the outcomes and it is permanent. Moreover, according to Hilton, many "discount" price cosmetic surgeons that claim to offer professional service for a low price have begun to show up all over the country (cited in 123HelpMe.com, n.d.).
2.3.1 Unlicensed Cosmetic practitioners
However, the problem is, most of these doctors are not properly trained to perform such drastic cosmetic surgery. In addition to that, Davis claims that a doctor can attend a conference in a hotel for few hours to learn how to perform cosmetic surgeries such as liposuction, breast enlargement, rhinoplasty and etc. Other than that, 'The Cosmetic Surgery Directory'(n.d) also states that they had discovered an extensive black market for cosmetic surgeries. For example, a 46 year-old woman died as a result of a black market cosmetic procedure in which cooking oil was injected into her body by an unlicensed surgeon who promised a cheap alternative way to legitimate procedure. So, "professional service" is just a falsehood. Hence, this is undeniable that it is extremely risky when a doctor is not properly trained and certified and this would be the main reason why the service is at low cost.
2.3.2 Cosmetic Surgery strains family's financial resources
According to a study conducted by American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) (n.d.), in year 2009, the top cosmetic surgeries done by teenagers were breast enlargement, rhinoplasty, eyelid surgery, liposuction and lastly, abdominoplasty.
Below are the prices for top five cosmetic surgeries.
Type of Cosmetic Surgery
1,600 - 3,700
Abdominoplasty (Tummy Tuck)
Source: Health Horizon Holidays, Malaysia.
From the above information, it can be clearly seen that cosmetic surgery is an expensive procedure. According to an article posted in THEEDGE MALAYSIA on 24th November 2008, the average nominal household income in year 2007 was RM 3,617 per capita and the real household income grew at 0.9% per year. Thus, it goes without saying that teens who wanted to go under knife will definitely put a huge strain on the family budget, particularly when the cost exceeds the estimation. Furthermore, Gred C. Pacher (n.d.) added that the estimated cost usually is just for the procedure along and the anesthesia fee is excluded. If there were complications, hospital stay may be to be extended and there is a cost to post operative care including post-op medications. On top of that, with the exception of reconstructive surgery, elective cosmetic surgery is not covered by insurance and all of these strain the family's financial resources.
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Moreover, there are also some cases that teenagers go into debt in order to obtain perfect nose or stomach which can lead to serious financial problems. On the whole, teenagers should be discouraged from having cosmetic surgery as it not only burdens the family of teens who undergoes the surgery but also put them in unnecessary situation when dealing with nasty recovery time.
In a nutshell, cosmetic surgery had grown six-fold in the past ten years. No longer restricted to rich or famous, cosmetic surgery is now within the middle-class and even teenagers. Cosmetic surgery has become so popular that even the kids know what that is and the main purpose of having cosmetic surgery.
However, is this good to the society and to the teens themselves? The answer is definitely no as the disadvantages of cosmetic surgery often outweight its advantages especially when the protagonist is teenager. Some might ask, why is this so? Firstly, cosmetic surgery carries some risk of harm physically and mentally, even of death. Besides, it not only interrupts teen's physical and emotional maturity but also burdens the teen's family who choose to undergo cosmetic procedure. Thus, it is clear that teens should be discouraged to go under knife in pursuit of 'perfect' beauty.
In this beauty-obsessed society, outward appearance has played an important role in everyone's life especially among teenagers who do not satisfy with their body and face feature. Despite cosmetic surgery, teens can choose to go for exercise and follow a healthy diet if they feel that their body is not perfect. Besides, teenagers can also put on some make-up so that they will look better and more energetic. If compared to cosmetic surgery, exercise and cosmetic product are definitely cheaper than cosmetic surgery and it is more healthy and deso not cause any harm to human body.
Furthermore, government should take the initiative to ban teenagers from cosmetic surgery and cosmetic surgery tourism should be demolished.
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