Hands holding a scalpel and a woman's face with a dotted line under her eye

Image Credits Artur Bergman, CC BY-SA 2.0

Often, plastic surgery gets a bad rap. You might have heard a few horror stories of breast implants gone wrong, or you might have heard some bad recovery stories. While no organization is completely perfect, plastic surgery is about more than just a face lift and some implants. It has benefits designed to help people recover after bad accidents, looks at a bigger picture (while focusing on the details), and can help people in their everyday lives. Here are a few myths you might have heard about plastic surgery.

  1. Plastic surgery and cosmetic surgery are the same thing. Surprisingly, no. Cosmetic surgery is all about the appearance of a person. So when you think of breast implants and Botox, that lies in the category of cosmetic surgery. Plastic surgery is meant to reconstruct defects and dysfunctional parts of the body and is incredibly useful. Cosmetic and plastic surgeons also require different types of training in order to be well-practiced in their art. Cosmetic surgeons – that is, surgeons who are only trained in the art of cosmetic surgery and not plastic surgery – are not recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties. While this may seem like a game of semantics, it’s not. It’s best to understand the difference between the two areas so you understand what you’re looking for when you need a specific type of surgery, be it aesthetic or functional.
  2. It’s only for vain people. Tell that to someone who was born with a cleft palate. A plastic surgeon is the person who helps fix people’s birth defects of cleft palates and other issues. While it’s easy to associate plastic surgery with boob jobs and facelifts and Kylie Jenner’s lips, there’s more to plastic surgery than that. For cases of people who have lost a lot of weight in an extremely short amount of time, there can be a lot of saggy skin. Those people can receive surgery to fix up their skin so they don’t have to feel self-conscious about their body. A plastic surgeon can also help treat burn victims who have to get skin grafts by making their grafts and original skin mesh better together. It’s easy to blame plastic surgery for body image problems, but it exists for much more than that.
  3. Only the rich get plastic surgery. It’s easy to think that only the rich and famous would get surgery on themselves. After all, the red carpet paparazzi photos that surface on the internet after movie premieres and other events will often contain speculation on whether a celebrty got surgery or not. However, insurances do cover surgeries at times and average people who need to have parts of themselves fixed will also get surgery. Sometimes that’s their only option, but they make it work.
  4. Plastic surgery leaves unsightly scars. Even if plastic surgeons are not cosmetic surgeons, they are still trained in the craft of minimizing scar tissue and helping it blend in with your skin. No surgery is perfect, but you will surface feeling better. You won’t be completely without scars, but they won’t be nearly as noticeable either. In order to minimize the appearance of your scars, keep up a healthy lifestyle of taking care of your skin, eating healthy food, and getting enough rest. That should be incentive enough.
  5. Liposuction is the lazy man’s way of losing weight. Liposuction is simply a way of removing fat that no amount of dieting or exercising will do for you. It does not remove cellulite; in fact, it makes cellulite areas look even worse, because it creates further skin dimples and other problems for your body. Weight gain does not typically occur in the area where you received liposuction, but that does not make you exempt from weight gain. Keep up a healthy diet and exercise regime after liposuction (luckily, recovery is pretty fast) and you won’t have as much to worry about.

Overall, plastic surgery exists to help people live easier lives without being slowed down by the defects in their bodies. It exists to help burn victims, people born with cleft palate, and other problems. Plastic surgery has the potential to do good and help people.