Example Of Changes Caused By Plastic Surgery Term Paper
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According to McFerran in the ”A Dictionary of Nursing,” plastic surgery is “the reconstruction of parts of the body deformed or damaged by burns, major accidents, or cancer” and birth defects. In the Oxford Dictionary of English, plastic surgery refers to “the process of reconstructing or repairing parts of the body by the transfer of tissue, either in the treatment of injury or for cosmetic reasons”. Presumably, when a person seeks plastic surgery to fix a deformation after an accident or battled illness, societies will offer their support. After all, the plastic surgery in such cases attempts to reconstruct or repair the damaged human parts and allow injured persons a chance to live normally again. On the other hand, there are cosmetic surgeries that seek to improve whatever the interested party deems improper or even deformed on their bodies. Unlike in the case of reconstructive surgery, people mostly shun cosmetic surgeries. For example, when a woman wants to have a smaller stomach yet cannot go to the gym or diet, they have the option of having a liposuction to remove subcutaneous fat (McFerran). However, she did not need a surgery since her life was not in danger, and her stomach was not an accident; thus, the operation merely feeds her vanity. Such is the difference between the two types of plastic surgery. For that reason, there are physical changes after plastic surgery and they affect the economic, psychological, health, and psychosocial makeup of people and their communities.
Cosmetic plastic surgery is a common phenomenon and is especially lucrative in some countries. The United States of America is a perfect illustration of its populations’ apparent affinity for the easy way towards a better physique. In 2014, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons recorded 15,622,866 cosmetic procedures that reflected a 111% change from the year 2000 (Cosmetic Procedure Trends). The shocking statistics do not necessarily show all Americans who sought cosmetic plastic surgery because some people may opt to go overseas for the same. In that case, the numbers could be higher but undocumented. By extension, the statistics mean that more people each year seek to have quick solutions to their weight problems and a chance to rebuild their faces and bodies for beauty purposes. Aside from the numbers, the age at which people sought to reconstruct their physical appearances is another worrisome factor. One would expect older people to view cosmetic surgery as a chance to reverse the clock and regain their youthful looks. However, the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery published statistics reports from 2013 that show data proving young women also seek plastic surgeries. Apparently, “in 2013, there were 3,325 procedures performed on women 18 and under, about 1% of the total number of breast augmentations” (The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, 14). With such facts in mind, cosmetic surgery in the United States alone is now a culture instead of an option for the deformed persons. In fact, the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery goes on to record that a total 26.2% of all people that sought to have liposuctions were between the ages of 19 and 34 years (14). It is absurd to assume that so many Americans consider themselves overweight unless plastic surgery is indeed a new culture within its borders. Nonetheless, America is one country and the statistics for the rest of the world will not necessarily provide reliable figures. Thus, cosmetic surgery is rampant because even the slightly over-weight people opt to have their bodies perfected without work. However, the costs of plastic surgery are not cheap, and the American Society of Plastic Surgeons proves this with the 12.5 billion dollars earnings of one year (2013 Average Surgeon/Physician Fees).
Apparently, plastic surgery brings changes to the financial systems of individuals and by extension, the society. Whereas families focused earnings on basic needs including food, shelter, and clothing, money is being set aside to change the looks of children and even their parents. After all, 3,325 people aged less than eighteen years old sought plastic surgery in 2013, meaning that, an equal number of families condone the procedures (The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery). In other words, the price of cosmetic surgery is too high for teenagers and young adults without a steady source of income making it obvious that other people foot the bills. The prominent benefactors are parents, who now seem to support their children in their pursuit of beauty and, in others, close friends and relatives can step up. In concurrence, the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery goes on to note that although plastic surgery is legal for all persons, it is recommendable for those over eighteen years (14). Therefore, parents and guardians can overlook such recommendations, without risking an intervention by the law, and acquire cosmetic operations for their children. With that in mind, Americans are changing their views about personal freedom and their perceptions of life necessities. As a result, plastic surgery is quickly becoming a norm for the people with very few opting to retain their natural looks.
All the economic facts mentioned above serve to multiply the wealth of plastic surgeons and other involved practitioners. The investment of 12.5 billion dollars in cosmetic surgery within the borders of the United States alone is shocking enough (2013 Average Surgeon/Physician Fees). Nevertheless, the figures do not take into account the cost of plastic surgery in other countries that excel in such practices, making it safe for one to assume that the global total is much higher. To understand such assumptions one just needs to imagine the absurd costs of plastic surgery that Americans willingly pay. Those prices are high among populations that obviously like the idea of fast beauty and readily spend their money in the same. Now, if the United States is so expensive even when the procedure has that much popularity, how much more will it cost in countries where people continue to fear or scorn plastic surgery. In other words, plastic surgery outside America will obviously have to cost more because clients are not many, and the doctors need to make each visit count to avoid bankruptcy. Consequently, at a global scale plastic surgery is a lucrative business and will continue to be so as long as people seek to change their appearances and the injured need reconstructions.
Next, plastic surgery changes the psychology of would be proprietors and societies based on the consequences of taking such chances. About the consequences, Melissa Dittmann records “positive outcomes in patients, including improvements in body image and possibly a quality-of-life boost” (Plastic Surgery). However, some patients, particularly those who have “unrealistic expectations or have a history of depression and anxiety” were not very happy with their final appearances (Dittmann, Plastic Surgery). Both forms of reactions stem from the original causes of plastic surgery where persons decide to have their looks altered for one reason or another. For instance, if a person has plastic surgery to remove a mole, their happiness is predictable because, by the end of their operation, they will be mole free. On the other hand, if a patient wants to change a particular feature of their body parts, such as the nose or their lips, disappointments are likely because they do not change their whole face. Those cases are not only applicable to the face, but the whole body because changing one aspect does not necessarily change the rest, making it impossible to fit the new part with the old. A perfect illustration is evident in a review published in the New York Times dubbed “With Liposuction, the Belly Finds What the Thighs Lose” on reports of botched liposuctions. As Gina Kolata writes, researchers recorded suctioned fat returned in not only the “upper abdomen, but also around the shoulders and triceps of the arms” worsening the weight problem (5). Plastic surgery firms such as the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery applauded the findings and promised to include them in future information about the procedure. The results do not refute Dittmann’s analysis in “Plastic Surgery” but supplements them because each research covers a different period after surgery. Dittmann reports of the patients’ feelings immediately after the procedure while Kolata’s report states, “it took a year, but it all returned” to mean the suctioned fat (5). Evidently, the two authors cover a period of one year in which, patients have time to reveal their true feelings about their new appearances.
On a personal level, botched surgeries affect the psychology of a patient by destroying their self-esteem and personal relations. As mentioned before, changing a certain feature on the face will result in the other features appearing out of place or the damaging of nerves. Such was the case of Penny Johnson a British woman who sued her plastic surgeon for a botched facelift that caused tissue damage. Apparently, the doctors were experimenting with new facelift methods, and since 2003, the woman’s face cannot stop twitching, and she has a permanent buzzing around her eye (Quinn). Consequently, she was no longer able to go out, and her marriage was “no longer what it used to be” because of her now low self-esteem (Quinn). Penny Johnson’s case is common among different people, but her case got the limelight because she is rich, and her case earned her 6.2 million dollars for damages. Now, Johnson is obviously rich, as she owned lucrative businesses with her husband before her botched facelift affected her work and plunged the family into destitution. Simultaneously, despite all the money spent in rectifying the damages, she was still experiencing the same problems and her life was never the same again. That is the nature of a plastic surgery, and it is easier to change the original look but once tampered with, surgeons cannot get the altered feature to its initial form. Consequently, unless the people have enough money to cover possible follow-up procedures, they put their families in danger of poverty. In concurrence, Robin Yuan in his book “Behind the Mask, Beneath the Glitter” advices would be plastic surgery patients to know what they can lose and “stick with it” (266). As a plastic surgeon, Yuan recalls instances where patients used life savings to get cosmetic surgery (114). That is problematic in the field because, for perfect results, one needs money for the original modification and has to set another sum aside for more operations. Without that, people delve into other funds and end up wasting much more money in a bid to fix a botched surgery. Penny Johnson is a perfect example of Yuan’s analysis because she kept going back for more surgery since the year 2003 and only gave up when she went out of business. In the end, it is clear that plastic surgery changes people by costing them their confidence and their livelihoods, a fact that affects their psychological well-being.
The psychological effects on the society branch out from the given analysis depending on the agents who carry forth information pertaining to cosmetic reconstructions. Plastic surgeons will automatically post pictures of successful procedures on their brochures and other advertising media to attract more clients. Although they feign ignorance, it is hard to believe that renowned plastic surgery practitioners are unaware of the potential beneficial and unsatisfactory consequences of plastic surgery. Still, they only communicate the best results while conveniently leaving out information about the worst that could happen once an individual has the operation. For that reason, the change that occurs among people and societies is that they readily embrace cosmetic reconstructions. After all, seeing a beautiful slim woman in an advertisement for plastic surgery will expectedly dispel any qualms that a person has about having such procedures. As a result, more people reconstruct their physical appearances, and more money goes into the practice, a fact that explains the recorded economic changes. The people make up the community; hence, once the majority support plastic surgery the society will eventually follow suit and change cultural norms. That is something transpiring in the United States, and even celebrities are unabashed to change their looks because nations accept the same. In contrast, if a woman or man informs would be subjects of botched surgeries, plastic surgery tendencies will drop as the popularity of the scalpel beauty loses its appeal. In that instance, even if people initially approved the plastic surgeries, they will turn skeptical and societies will only mock anybody who has the procedure for beauty purposes.
Health changes occur when people immediately blame their illnesses or pains on physical attributes instead of investigating other avenues of causal factors. As mentioned above, some patients fail to appreciate their surgery results because they “have a history of depression and anxiety” (Dittmann, Plastic Surgery). In that case, surgery becomes a black hole that sucks in money without any chances of respite. One such disorder is BDD or the body dysmorphic disorder where patients are never satisfied with their final looks. Such situations create multiple problems for surgeons and Yuan is quick to advise fellow practitioners to be “wary of operating on people with body dysmorphic disorder” (147). Yuan’s warning comes because those patients are never satisfied with their results and will continue to demand more changes because to them, ugliness migrates. In other words, after getting a facelift, they will require a nose job, and then a liposuction and so on and so forth. The trouble begins when they exhaust their money, and the consultants take the blame for their “ugliness” alongside lawsuits and the possibility of losing their license.
Evidently, unless plastic surgeons double-check their patients’ medical backgrounds, both parties will waste much money and time attempting to fix something that is not physical. Such instances mark the changes in health ideologies within societies where plastic surgery is an option. Whereas one would originally see a psychiatrist for feeling unworthy and ugly, they instead go for cosmetic surgery in order to remove their undesired features. At a personal level, that has disastrous outcomes in a possible future where the patient accesses the right medication. Naturally, with the disorder, a client thinks that the surgeries are what he or she needs and will happily go back for more operations. However, when the patient finally accesses correct medications, reality sinks in and will most likely start regretting their decisions. Nonetheless, an obsession without proper treatment will only cause changed lifestyles where the patient is constantly on the surgeon’s operating table or healing from an operation with the possibility of bankruptcy. A society in the given illustration will expectedly view the individual as vain and incompetent for using that much money and probably having unrecognizable features. Since the person is ill, a once supportive society changes from a caring one to the devil's incarnate because of their insensitive views, albeit well placed for lack of information. It is the same in the case of alienating a rape victim after she conceives. The community does not know the details of the pregnancy and will issue a judgment on the poor woman. Similarly, misplaced causes for plastic surgery will garner an unreasonable reaction towards the ill person.
Finally, yet importantly, the Oxford Dictionary of English defines the concept of psychosocial as a word “relating to the interrelation of social factors and individual thought and behavior”. Based on the changes plastic surgery brings to those procuring it, the societal reactions to the practice and the impacts of the same are unpredictable. In other words, plastic surgery changes relationships and at the same time can alter the views communities have about a person. In that instant, even when a person is happy with the results of a cosmetic surgery operation, they will outrightly regret their decisions and seek to regain their older looks. In his book, Robin Yuan tells his readers that he does carry out operations on “the society, a culture, a trend, or a statistic” although such details affect patients (XIII). Therefore, when people seek plastic surgery, they ought to keep in mind that their change does not mean the society changes with them and the responses can be blatantly brutal. Thus, the response of other people to cosmetic surgery forms the biggest threat to the practice and at the same time, encompasses the most significant change.
At the family level, psychosocial changes appear among children and other young people. There are reasons for The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery's record of 3,325 under eighteens who went for cosmetic surgery. By extension, the same reason explains the parents’ apparent acceptance for their children to change their looks although such ideologies are harmful to the young. Said reason revolves around a role model of the family with a child deciding to change his or her appearance, and in most cases, it is the parent or guardian. Consequently, children grow up learning to be skeptical about their looks and eventually seek cosmetic surgery in the replica of their role models. Evidently, the idea of children making decisions to have plastic surgery marks a change in the family dynamics. Whereas parents protected and nurtured children to instill self-confidence and humility, the twenty-first century is apparently the opposite. In addition, since they allow their children to have cosmetic surgeries, parents sign an agreement that states their children are wanting and are not beautiful. It is no wonder that young people seeking an easy way out to a beautiful body and face end up being obsessed with cosmetic operations even in adulthood.
At the community level, consider a woman is having breasts augmentation because she wants to boost her confidence. Although she does it for personal reasons, her peers will not care about that and will not hesitate to show their displeasure. Friend circles can alienate her because she is different now and at work, the situation will be no different because other women will see her new breasts as sexual power. For instance in Penny Johnson’s case, the woman refuses to go out since she fears her friends will make her uncomfortable because they disapprove her surgery (Quinn). Part of the reasons why the court awarded 6.2 million dollars for damages is because she had not been going to work (Quinn). In the same manner that breast enlargements can thwart a woman’s confidence, Johnson’s botched surgery had a similar effect because she could no longer go on with her ordinary life. As a result, plastic surgery changes social relations and can destroy romances when one spouse changes his or her looks and destroys the dynamics of the marriage. Ben Quinn’s article quotes court proceedings where there was a claim that Penny Johnson is “no longer a wife to her husband” because of her insecurities (Surrey Businesswoman Wins £6m Payout Over Botched Facelift).
Conclusively, the changes that plastic surgery causes are all part of the initial physical appearance that a person seeks to alter on the operation table. Consequently, with every interaction and body reactions, changes emerge. From the psychological to the psychosocial relations, plastic surgery is a serious matter that people need to take seriously. After all, if a person changes, their world remains the same, making it illogical for people to assume that drastic plastic surgery allows them to go back to their ordinary lives. In addition, it is advisable that governments impose laws to prohibit underage plastic surgeries because parents are apparently uncaring about their children's welfare. Evidently, too much autonomy is hazardous to the welfare of people from all ages.
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—. "Cosmetic Procedure Trends." 2015. 2014 Cosmetic Plastic Surgery Statistics. Web. 31 March 2015. <http://www.plasticsurgery.org/Documents/news-resources/statistics/2014-statistics/cosmetic-procedure-trends-2014.pdf>.
Dittmann, Melissa. "Plastic surgery: Beauty or beast?" 8 September 2005. American Psychological Association. Web. 31 March 2015. <http://www.apa.org/monitor/sep05/surgery.aspx>.
Kolata, Gina. "What Thighs Lose, Belly Finds." The New York Times 1 May 2011: 5. Print.
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The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. "Cosmetic Surgery National Data Bank STATISTICS." 2013. Smart Beauty Guide. Print. 31 March 2015. <https://s3.amazonaws.com/asaps/assets/stats/2013/ASAPS-2013-Stats.pdf>.
Yuan, Robin T.W. Behind the Mask, Beneath the Glitter: The Deeper Truths About Safe, Smart Cosmetic Surgery. South Carolina: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2011. Print.
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