Top 5 myths in plastic surgery
“It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you in trouble. It’s what you know that just ain’t so.”
- Mark Twain
Is there any topic more fraught with misinformation than plastic surgery? How is the smart consumer supposed to separate fact from fiction? It isn’t easy, but here are a few myths that just ain’t so:
- Myth: Cosmetic surgeons are plastic surgeons who focus on cosmetic surgery. Reality: If you are unsure about the difference, you are not alone; a recent Harris Poll commissioned by RealSelf found that 59 percent of women in the U.S. do not know there is a difference between a cosmetic surgeon and a plastic surgeon. Moreover, 84% of women in the U.S. are unaware that doctors do not have to be board-certified in plastic surgery to perform surgical cosmetic procedures, such as breast augmentation. Plastic surgeons complete a minimum of 6 years of accredited training in plastic surgery after medical school, while only a year is required for cosmetic surgery. So look for certification by The American Board of Plastic Surgery.
- Myth: Diet and exercise are preferable to plastic surgery. Reality: Plastic surgery is for what you can’t accomplish with diet and exercise alone; it’s not an alternative! The truth is that exercise does not spot reduce, does not tighten skin that has been stretched from pregnancy (more than it would have rebounded anyway), and body contouring surgery such as liposuction is not for weight loss.
- Myth: Cosmetic plastic surgery is only for the vain. Reality: The last thing most plastic surgeons want to do is operate on someone who is obsessively vain, because they may be chasing an unattainable goal of perfection. Taking pride on one’s appearance and wanting to project a more youthful or attractive look is normal and healthy, up to a point. Studies show that when done for the right reasons, plastic surgery improves quality of life and well-being.
- Myth: You can always tell who has had plastic surgery. Reality: You can usually tell who has had overdone plastic surgery, but most of my patients want a natural look. It’s like the old Clairol hair color commercial that asks “Does she or doesn’t she?” Only her hairdresser knows for sure, but in this case it’s her plastic surgeon.
- Myth: Plastic surgery is only for the rich and famous. Reality: Most plastic surgery patients are middle income, though you shouldn’t expect bargain basement pricing from qualified plastic surgeons. Don’t cut corners on your nip and tuck, but do make sure you understand all of the costs involved including the facility, anesthesia, and surgeon’s fees.
For those considering plastic surgery or a nonsurgical cosmetic procedure, the best advice is to do your homework and don’t be afraid to ask questions. The best plastic surgeons will encourage questions and provide you with the resources you need to make informed and wise decisions that are in your best interest.