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Given the advancements in technology, cosmetic surgery, a type of plastic surgery, has become more of an art than an operation nowadays. Inevitably, it has also become one of the popular avenues of fighting against signs of ageing or correcting one’s self perceived imperfections.
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According to Medical-Dictionary.Com, “Cosmetic surgery is defined as surgery that modifies or improves the appearance of a physical feature, irregularities or defects.” It belongs to the family of plastic surgeries that also includes various types of surgeries like reconstructive surgery, hand surgery, microsurgery, and the treatment of burns, with cosmetic surgery being the most well known among them all.
For the eyes, we have cosmetic surgeries like, blepharoplasty that reshapes the eyelids or allows the application of permanent eyeliner, epicanthoplasty that removes the presence of epicanthal folds around the eye.
For the face, we have surgeries like, chemical peel that helps minimize the appearance of facial scars and wrinkles, otoplasty that involves reshaping the ear by pinning the protruding ear closer to the head, lip enhancement that improves lips’ fullness through surgical enlargement, chin augmentation that involves implanting usually silicone by sliding genioplasty of the jawbone or by suture of the soft tissue, cheek augmentation that uses implants to either reduce the cheeks or make them appear fuller, browplasty that elevates eyebrows and smoothes forehead skin, midface life that tightens the cheek while the most extreme of them all would be orthognathic surgery that manipulates facial bones through controlled fracturing.
For modifying our bodily features, we have surgeries like, breast augmentation that allows the enlargement of breast by means of fat grafting, saline or silicone gel prosthetics, reduction mammoplasty that enables breast reduction through skin and glandular removal and mastopexy that facilitates breast lifts that lifts and reshapes breasts to make them less saggy, abdominoplasty that reshapes and firms the abdomen, buttock augmentation that facilitates lifting and tightening of buttocks by excision of redundant skin, liposuction that removes fat deposits by traditional suction technique or ultrasonic energy to aid fat removal and last but not least, filler injections that can be done on any part of the body that involves injecting collagen, fat and other tissue filler injections, usually to make those parts appear fuller.
After introducing this much details about the types of cosmetic surgery techniques made possible by technological advancements available now and today, I would be elaborating more on how the availability of cosmetic technological surgeries have impacted our society through prevalent forms of mediums that we are exposed to everyday inevitably.
The main and most influential mediums would have to be the media and peer pressure from friends and families. Let us take a closer look at the types of media and societal mediums available.
Movies is probably one of the most common mediums that we get exposed to and indulge in. To get a better understanding on the gross profits of movies, we refer to The-Numbers.Com. According to the website, Avatar raked a worldwide gross of US$2,783,556,202 while Titanic earned a gross profit of US$1,842,879,955. These figures gives us a better insight on how widely watched are movies and the impacts these charming celebrities can have on society.
This brought to my point that some celebrities influence us when some of them are actually very open about the fact that they have had cosmetic surgeries such as breast implants, lip augmentations, veneers and rhinoplasties while some others deny it.
Some of the famous examples include, Heidi Montag, Joan Rivers, Bruce Jenner, Dolly Parton, Donatella Versace, Michael Jackson and so on. They have openly admitted to having gone under the knife and some have even shared their experiences on television, according to Cosmeticsurgerytoday.Com and Sydney4women.Com.Au.
The general public tend to look up to these figures of fame and glamour while aspiring to look like them. In the more extreme cases, plastic surgeons do get requests from patients saying that they want to look like a certain celebrity as extracted from Cosmeticsurgerytoday.Wordpress.Com. However, plastic surgeons do warn celebrity worshippers against it as the results are not guaranteed and there are side effects to it.
In the advertising industry, we often see the application of celebrity endorsements in adverts, with the aim of increasing the mass’s likelihood of adopting the brand under the effect of wanting to imitate the behaviour of their idols and that if they adopt this brand, they are, in one way or another, one step closer to that celebrity by offering their support to him or her.
For example, in adverts featuring sports products, they often employ the use of sporty figures in the sports industry to present that sporty and healthy image that you can be as sporty and healthy like them; enjoying the stated benefits of that product should you adopt that brand of sports products too.
Apart from misleading the public through this persuasion method, it also transmits vanity
values and materialistic ideals into the younger generations of now and today. We always depict slim, slender feministic figures as much sought of in advertisements like for perfume, fashion products or even facial products but rarely anything about females being attractive in their own skin regardless of their shape and size as it should be. This creates the impression that only slim and slender ladies are beautiful and is in fact, piling onto the vanity effect.
This would fuel onto desires to go under the knife to look pretty and desired by the society, often neglecting the fact that only positive testimonials on cosmetic surgeries are featured and the botched cases are more widespread than we realize.
As we all know, there has been drastic changes in societal norms comparing today’s trends and levels of acceptances to cosmetic surgeries compared to just a few decades ago. In the past, it used to be a shameful thing to have gone under the knife, because features that we are born with are inherited from our parents.
However, much as the majority are now higher educated and richer to afford these surgeries, it has become a norm to go under the knife so long as the end results make one happier and more confident.
In South Korea, it is more competitive than ever about whose kids are looking better than it being conservative. Dr Shim Hyung Bo, a plastic surgeon in Seoul says that parents make their kids get plastic surgery to look good and it is just as important as their kids getting good grades while teenagers as young as 14 are doing eye surgeries and eye jobs have become a favourite high school graduation gift from proud parents as quoted from Time.Com.
Much as countries like Singapore itself may be more conservative and Asian-oriented, we are also starting to move towards the more acceptable kind of surgeries like blepharoplasty that reshapes eyelids, liposuctions that removes body fats and also rhinoplasty as admitted and righteously justified by famous blogger, Xiaxue as reported by media coverage on papers and also on her own blog, Xiaxue.Blogspot.Com.
Furthermore, it is to be brought to attention that most of Xiaxue’s readers ages range from teens to adults and this may greatly influence the highly impressionable younger generations.
The amount of printed media that we come into contact with everyday also heavily endorses cosmetic surgery procedures such as newspapers that features stars who have undergone or is suspected of having gone under the knife or magazines that actually help disseminate knowledge about certain procedures.
The higher the frequency the society is exposed to such genres of information and news updates, we are more likely to accept the idea of cosmetic surgery under classical conditioning and also may become interested to research for more information on our own.
Some individuals who may not have the idea to want any form of cosmetic surgery would be tempted to go for it should they be awed by the results, for example, after surfing websites like Goodplasticsurgery.Com. This is a website where they compile plausible photos and brief descriptions of celebrities who have gone under the knife and looks more gorgeous than ever.
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Apart from the entertainment values of such websites, it is not to be neglected that it might be acting as a medium in piling onto the misleading fact that “having cosmetic surgeries done is pretty much desirable and offers amazing results.”
On the other hand, there are websites like Sydney4women.Com.Au that also provides links to websites that offers “recommendable” surgeons as a related link to its cosmetic surgery articles. For the website, the link might just be an avenue for earning advertisement fees but to the public, it is actually a form of raising the accessibility of avenues to get cosmetic surgeries done.
Advantages of Cosmetic Surgery
The most straightforward of cosmetic surgery has to be the benefits of aesthetic improvements to one’s looks. For a burn victim, it would drastically improve his or her life due to the fact that they can minimize the damages inflicted on them to the best of their probabilities.
For a female who has been teased at all her life about her appearance, cosmetic surgery might just be the easiest way out to improve her social life, her confidence and also the way she would lead her life post surgery, example as stated from Neikie Reno’s real life account as on Abcnews.Go.Com.
Another advantage of cosmetic surgery would be to correct physical defects that may have resulted from accidents after birth or defects that they may have been born with since birth and cosmetic surgery may actually give them a shot at leading normal lives as quoted from Cosmeticsurgerya-z.Com.
On the other hand, patients who have gone under the knife for liposuction and breast reduction may find their lives greatly enhanced in terms of being physically active in leading sporty lifestyles that helps them to be healthier than they can ever imagine.
Disadvantages of Cosmetic Surgery
One of the most crippling disadvantages of cosmetic surgery is that the results may not come out as desired or envisioned. All surgeries carry some degree of risks and much as complications are rare, they do occur.
Some of the most common risks associated with cosmetic surgery are, infections, severe bleeding, nerve damages, tissue deaths, seroma which is more widely understood as fluid collecting around the area of surgery and hematoma which refers to bruising around the area in layman terms.
Blood clots and deep vein thrombosis are also possible complications of cosmetic surgery.
Besides, some complications may be enhanced if the patient has certain health conditions such as diabetes that may result in massive bleeding as cited from Livestrong.Com.
In terms of post surgery appearance, unsightly scarring is also a major concern as it may also prove to be a tell tale sign that the patient has undergone surgery previously.
Putting the medical side effects aside, cosmetic surgery on its own is also costly and the costs stated by clinics are usually only the base cost of the procedure and surgeon fees, hospital fees, along with lost wages, medication costs and after care costs must be factored in when considering the costs of going under the knife.
Last but not least, the point that may be the most interesting and scary of all to date is the fact that accounts stating that people actually DO get addicted after having their first surgeries done. As reported by Abcnews.Go.Com, Neikie Reno actually got obsessed with cosmetic surgery procedures and has had 14 surgeries done over the span of over a decade, spending a grand total of $83,000 on them all.
Although it is the fact that they are addicted to the feel good factor after having these surgeries which may not be a bad thing, however, as addictions go, many might not know when to stop and this may have disastrous effects on them eventually.
Much as cosmetic surgeries have the ability to improve our lives, it also has the ability to mislead our judgements. The very fact that media mediums propagate the idea of being good looking brings about better and easier lives by earning the envy of others.
All these does not help impressionable viewers to break off and move away from the norms of being a superficial, vain and materialistic individuals that cannot think for themselves independently.
In the long term, our younger generations will all be cultivated into this “look good, feel good” mindset, no matter the costs or side effects of these cosmetic surgeries. It is also to be taken into account that this effect would snowball as most of us are inclined to follow each other’s actions under peer pressure, social norms or trends as often portrayed by the media.
Much as “Everyone’s Guide to Cosmetic Plastic Surgery” written by Lachlan Currie says that modern cosmetic surgery has evolved into a specialist field which involves the use of numerous reliable techniques that allows safe improvements to be made to the face and body, I still think that everyone’s body constitution is different and there is no one method that insures all individuals against any complications.
On the other hand, “Cosmetic Surgery of the Asian Face” written by John A. McCurdy, Samuel M. Lam has also pointed out expertly that although the stereotype of Asians having yellow skin pigmentation, straight coarse black hair, a flat face with high malar eminences, a broad, flat nose and narrow slitlike eyes with a characteristic epicanthal fold may be loosely applied to the eastern Asian group of people, the aesthetic surgeon should appreciate that considerable individual variations exists in all of these physical traits.
This adds on to the point that much as cosmetic surgeries are meant to bring about aesthetic facial improvements, the patient would have to know their own features well and not to blindly go under the knife to look like some Western celebrity despite knowing their Asian descent that might bring about unsatisfactory results after all that post surgery trauma.
In a nutshell, I am totally agreeable to cosmetic surgeries so long as it is done to improve one’s life and that individual is able to judge for themselves their own limit and had done sufficient research on their own prior to going under the knife.
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