Plastic Surgery: Not Just for Movie Stars
When the topic of plastic surgery arises, you’re usually learning about a movie star’s new look through an entertainment show, tabloid magazine or gossipy web article.
These procedures have always seemed reserved for the glamorous; how often does the average Joe get plastic surgery?
“More often than you think,” says Mark Shashikant, MD, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon at Avera Medical Group Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery. “In fact, even more so than movie stars.”
If you’ve ever tossed around the idea of liposuction or a nose job, you’ve probably heard many different opinions from your family, significant other or even coworkers.
“Plastic surgery is a very personal decision; you’re doing it for you!” said Barry Martin, MD, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon. “If you maintain a healthy lifestyle and a healthy attitude toward yourself, it’s OK to explore your options when the mental image of yourself doesn’t match your outside.”
People from Baby Boomers to Millennials are exploring procedures as simple as Botox injections to facelifts. People are opting for plastic surgery to refresh their look, stay competitive in the workforce or adjust after pregnancy.
The top three cosmetic plastic surgeries Martin and Shashikant see personally are abdominoplasty or tummy tuck, liposuction and breast augmentation.
“Tummy tucks are desirable after significant weight loss or pregnancy,” said Martin. “The abdominal walls are stretched and weakened; plastic surgery tightens the muscle wall and excess skin is removed.”
Contrary to what many people may believe, liposuction is not a weight-loss solution. “During liposuction, we focus on removing only fat stores that don’t fit the patient’s frame. Removed fat is then sometimes used to rejuvenate other parts of the body,” explained Shashikant.
Martin added that weight regain is very unlikely because “these individuals are usually already leading a healthy lifestyle.”
And breast augmentation simply involves making a 4- to 6-centimeter incision and inserting a silicone implant under the breast muscle.
These operations are outpatient procedures and recovery takes a few weeks. Even though you may return to work within a few days, it’s important to avoid any strenuous activities until you’re fully healed. Each procedure is unique, so it’s imperative to follow your surgeon’s instructions and attend any follow-up appointments.
Though 90 percent of all plastic surgery patients are women, men are also going under the knife.
“Men in their mid-50s who are staying in the workforce see plastic surgery as a professional investment,” said Shashikant. Men are more likely to request nose jobs and liposuction. “They view younger professionals as competition.”
Both Martin and Shashikant are tentative about performing procedures on individuals under age 18 unless it is a significant deformity or a minor change, such as ear pinning. Why? Because the body continues to develop and change well into your 20s and proper consent requires maturity.
“We will always advocate for the patient’s health first,” Martin said.
Before approving surgery, ask your plastic surgeon about his or her qualifications. “You have the right to know about your surgeon’s credentials,” advised Shashikant on the importance of complete transparency in health care. Ask ‘Are you board certified to perform the procedure I’m requesting?’
Also, plastic surgery isn’t covered by most health insurance unless it is medically necessary, such as breast reconstruction after cancer or skin grafts after trauma. However, it can often be done in tandem with other procedures. After a hysterectomy, for example, a plastic surgeon may perform a tummy tuck while the patient is still under anesthesia. Insurance will cover the hysterectomy; you will be responsible for the tuck.