In November, actress Kaley Cuoco, known for her role as Penny on the popular hit television series, Big Bang Theory, talked about her experience with plastic surgery. Not only did she reveal that she had a nose job and breast augmentation, but she also unabashedly said her decision to have these procedures was one of the best decisions that she had made for her career – and her life. Many plastic surgery patients feel the same as Cuoco regarding their own procedures. For many people, plastic surgery can boost self-esteem, confidence and improve their overall quality of life.
Over 11 million cosmetic procedures were performed in the United States in 2015 according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons report, Plastic Surgery Statistics. Many of these patients chose to have plastic surgery or cosmetic procedures in order to fix a flaw or perceived flaw that had long been a source of angst or anxiety for the individual. For some patients that could be oversized or misshapen breasts, a bump in their nose or even a scar that may remind them of a painful injury or accident. “If the general population was surveyed about their body image, most individuals would have something they would want to tweak,” says Dr. Jack Peterson, M.D.
Peterson should know. He’s a practicing plastic surgeon in Topeka, Kansas, and performs hundreds of procedures each year. These procedures range from minimally invasive facial procedures like Botox and dermal filler injections to major surgeries, such as tummy tucks and breast reconstruction after mastectomies. Peterson also performs noninvasive procedures for skin resurfacing, like microdermabrasion and laser skin rejuvenation in order to reduce the signs of aging, minimize pores and improve skin quality.
“When consulting with a patient, I usually ask about their personal motivation for having the procedure – it is a necessary step because it helps me to be able to understand the expectations and desired outcomes the patient has for the procedure. It is also helpful to ensure patient satisfaction and realities mesh,” he explains. “Most patients mention that they have always wanted to fix the body issue that they have been struggling with because it impacts how they feel about themselves, their relationships or dating life and their health – and in some cases, all of these things.”
“Some patients really struggle with their bodies. A patient with breasts that are oversized for their frame may be self-conscious in certain clothing, avoid dating relationships and also have neck or back pain because of the weight their breasts,” says Peterson. A breast reduction surgery can reduce the breast to a size that is more in proportion to the patient’s frame, which will, in turn, improve the fit of clothing, and eliminate neck or back pain. “The patient sees an overall quality of life improvement with the reduction procedure,” Peterson continues.
The American Society of Plastic Surgeons agrees with Peterson about the impact that body flaws can have on a person’s emotional health. In the December 2014 issue of the journal, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, the ASPS examined the impact of breast asymmetry in girls aged 12 to 21. The results of the study found that having breasts that were different sizes by at least one bra cup size, caused feelings of insecurity and depression, and in some cases caused eating disorders. The study also found that adult women who had one or both breasts removed during mastectomy for cancer treatment, along with men who suffered from gynecomastia, or enlarged breast issue, had similar feelings.
While plastic surgery can improve both a patient’s look and overall quality of life, it is not a panacea for all problems. Patients seeking plastic surgery should discuss their desired procedures with a licensed, reputable, professional plastic surgeon and understand the procedure, recovery, and results before going under the knife.