We care about our appearance. There is a level of qualitative or quantitative standards we use to judge ourselves. For example, dark or light features, wrinkled, broad or sharp nose, acne or pock among others.
Science in the form of plastic surgery, allows us to correct our blemishes.
Plastic surgery is a specialty that incorporates cosmetic and reconstructive surgery. It involves techniques like incision, excision, chemosurgery, electro surgery, laser surgery, dermabrasion and liposuction.
Presently plastic surgery is done on most body parts. For the eyelids, reshaping or applying or permanent eye liner is called blepharoplasty. Chemical peeling refers to processes that restore the skin, using agents like salicylic acid.
Many plastic surgery methods are still underway. The American population index for the year 2006, lists about 11 million plastic surgeries done. The previous index for year 2002 lists only seven million plastic surgeries.
This upward trend in the use of plastic surgery could be due to the reasons below:-
In print and or audio-visual the media reaches over two thirds of the world’s population. With emphasis on the visual media in the form of films, television and images as photographs, this media cuts across the divide existing in between cultures and to some extent literacy levels.
Through the media more information is delivered to the public on ground breaking plastic surgery procedure. In most tabloids, including the gutter press, there is always a possibility of finding an advertisement placed on the classified that has to do with penis enlargement (for men), or even liposuction for women.
A given medium like a newspaper or even a magazine may target a specific section of society like teenagers, the working class of women. It is possible for this cluster of readers or even viewers to take up what is implied and try to achieve these standards.
Also some medium may involve or invite surgeons to give their view on some procedures of plastic surgery. This creates curiosity in the “audience”, and as the interest generates more thirst for wanting to learn about the surgery, so are the chances one might want to undergo it.
The media, in form of reality television shows like The Swan has also packaged plastic surgery as a means of “sorting out” any of those physical challenges that one has had in the past like acne, pointed nose or even wide eyelid contours. As one watches both men and women go through such transformations, its not so hard to want to be the one who was transformed to someone you have dreamt of for long.
Though the internet may also be classified as part of the media, other additional factors give it an edge in the increased use of plastic surgery.
The internet is a source of information on plastic surgery. In addition, the internet is a channel for response or feedback, for example using e-mail, or chatting.
It also provides a system of broadcasting, though virtually, to a great audience. It is on this internet that advertisements on various plastic surgery techniques have been placed. It also has catch, testimonials from clients who have apparently benefited from the procedures.
So with the continued use of this facility, internet, information on plastic surgery has reached a bigger number of people, leading to increased use of cosmetic surgery.
The technical advancements in medicine
There has been development of the computer technology and subsequent refinement of surgical procedures.
Microsurgery and laser surgery, have been incorporated into the plastic surgery world. The two are less painful and more subtle operative systems.
Also the application of anesthesia to ease pain during operation, has allowed many to dare go for some of these painful plastic surgery procedures.
Post-operative procedures that also ease pain, like the use of sustained release. Diclofenac, a powerful pain killer, have been attended factors in helping the plastic surgery clients. To avoid septic infections, the use of strong antibiotics on post operative therapy has ensured that complications of infections do not arise after therapy.
These factors, by affording comfort to a client, make plastic surgery seem like a simple “walk in, walk out operation. Hence the popularity of its use.
The pop culture
The influence of icons and pop culture is felt across all levels of a given generation.
There are people who look at these stars, both in the music and cinema industry, as their mentors and essentially role models.
Ranging from the “King of pop”, Michael Jackson, Sheryl Crow, and Britney Spears to Richard Gere, Julia Roberts, all Hollywood stars in addition to other musicians, each has his or her audience.
The element of aping what these stars and dives do is common. Maybe in order to try and fit to a given group.
In addition, the attention given by many when “Jackson gets a nose job” or “Britney Spears gets a dummy tuck” would encourage some to want to be part of this exclusive group.
There is also the use of this starts as the elements of accomplishes beauty. Some like Denzel Washington and Pamela Anderson, both actors, have specific appeal. The former is quite handsome and the later has a sizeable bosom. Such features drive some to want to be like them especially if placed as advertisements.
More so the world beauty contest for women portrays given features, required for one to quality as beautify.
This people, appear on the catwalk, without any blemish or spot. This has brought the definition of beauty to new standards.
It is not so had to find a multitude of women who want to be like the reigning Miss World, or Miss America.
To get to such levels, their additional fatty deposits on the lower abdomen will liposucked, they might require a butox.
Plastic surgery is increasingly being used as a treatment, redness per congenital defects and also for trauma. Rising number of anomalies like cleft lip and palate, facial growth and development disturbances are addressed using craniofacial surgery.
At times management is done for children with ambiguous genitalia. Done at about age 18 to 24 months, this procedure is for adequate cosmetic appearance prior to when this kids will recognize the ambiguity. This is called clitoroplasty and is about reduction of the clitoris.
For a number of years, the medical fraternity has embraced the use of constructive plastic surgery. This corrects innate defects. Many children found with such birth defects are presently enrolled in these constructive programs.
Disparities in economies
With the strong value of the worlds great seven currencies, so has the purchasing power heightened. Presently most people take sabbaticals or even safaris that include the plastic surgery in the package or itinerary.
It is common for people to visit, Thailand whose medical services are highly affordable, even to the average earning American or European. The Indian subcontinent, South Africa and South Korea, in addition to being fine tourist destination are a favorite.
This has cumulatively increased the number of people undergoing plastic surgery.
In addition, some skilled labor markets are lax or liberalized to an extent that; few limitations exist in terms of prerequisites for undergoing plastic surgery, or providing the service.
Foundations and support groups
There has been an increase in the foundations that fund the research on diseases and subsequent therapy. In addition, these organizations may have skilled professionals who offer their services at specific times for free or at subsidized rates.
These professionals may include the surgeons, nutritionists and counselors. For example, Lion Club, Rotary Club and The Royal Society have plastic surgeons who carryout cleft and lip palate operations.
Perhaps, Operation Smile is the most significant of these. It has enabled many, even from developing nations to access plastic surgery.
Support groups, some existing for mainly psychological therapy have been noted, for actively recommending plastic surgery to some of its members.
As we grow up, we form general views about ourselves, our conduct and looks. We worry about the more growing on our shoulders, the dark blemish on the scalp, a developing bald and any other anomaly.
As the society dictates through the advertisements we see, captions on the newspaper and even on the audio-visual media; so do we form perceptions on our bodies and health.
When the prescribed intervention fails; for example if a drug regimen will not help one regain hair on the head, plastic surgery might provide the alternative. Liposuction provides an alternative to those who might not have found solution through dieting.
Plastic surgery, apart from excision of the unwanted or undesired part of our bodies allows one to choose what we want for ourselves.
If our view of our image changes, we rejuvenate. Feel better and accepted by the society.
The factors mentioned cumulatively have contributed to a rise in plastic surgery cases.
As the world develops and ideas take fast, the growth curve is expected to be steady, on the increased use of plastic surgery.