Plastic Surgery, or Cosmetic Surgery, is surgery that is unnecessary from a medical perspective, but is carried out to improve appearance. Cosmetic surgery is initiated by an individual who wants to change the physical appearance of a feature. Although in many cases their physical appearance is normal, they may wish to change the size of their breasts or the shape of their nose. An individual may also use cosmetic surgery to change disfigured body parts and give them a smoother appearance.
Plastic surgery has been, and will continue to be a controversial subject in many ways some people will agree with plastic surgery and some people won’t agree with plastic surgery. Plastic surgery has become increasingly common today for a variety of reasons and countless individuals are consulting plastic surgeons with the hopes of looking the way they have always dreamed of looking. Whether plastic surgery is the right choice is a question that requires some serious searching and personal examination both by the person interesting in plastic surgery and the doctor who is performing the surgery.
There are multiple types of plastic surgery procedures that can be performed for cosmetic or corrective reasons. Plastic surgery can range from minor enhancements to major body overhauls depending in the needs of the person requesting this life changing surgery. While the benefits of plastic surgery are widely accepted, patients should consider the positive and negative aspects of plastic surgery before undergoing any treatments. This debate considers only cosmetic surgery carried out purely to improve appearance, and does not address plastic surgery for medical reasons, for example post-disfigurement reconstruction or remedial surgery.
II. Definition of Terms
- Surgery – the branch of medicine that treats diseases, injuries, and deformities by manual or operative methods.
- Cosmetic – involving or relating to treatment intended to restore or improve a person’s appearance.
- Cosmetic Surgery – surgery that modifies or improves the appearance of a physical feature, irregularity, or defect.
- Anaesthesia – medicine that can cause total or partial loss of sensation.
- Appearance – the way that someone, or something, looks.
- Disfiguration – to mar or spoil the appearance or shape of; deform.
a. The benefits of cosmetic surgery are fantastic – both physically and emotionally. Patients are no longer self conscious about their physical defects. Many cosmetic surgery patients discover that they are more outgoing, more personable, and more confident. They can focus on living their lives instead of worrying about the way others are looking at them. And given that the reality is that we’re judged on our appearance all the time, it’s perfectly rational to want to look good.
b. We should not restrict freedom of choice. Certainly there’s an element of danger involved. But why shouldn’t we let people undertake dangers in the pursuit of beauty, and higher self esteem? As humans, we are in charge of our bodies and should have the right to decide what we want to do with it.
c. Cosmetic surgery can turn a profit for hospitals that is put towards more general medical areas. And doctors receive training and practice in difficult techniques which can then be used to help patients in genuine need.
d. The vast majority of people who have cosmetic surgery have one procedure and never look back. They’re made happier and more secure in themselves because of it. It’s fine to oppose cosmetic surgery, but don’t falsely portray those that have it as being mentally unstable.
IV. Counter Arguments
a. Cosmetic surgery is a harmful influence on people. As time changes so do the standards of beauty. People follow the trends whenever they change. People ask surgeons to make them look like the latest famous star. Doing this ignores the natural beauty and diversity that our culture is made of. We should promote the idea that appearance is not as important as character. People should be content with themselves and not be so hung up on their looks.
b. We agree that sometimes we must accept those dangers, as they come in the course of necessary medical procedures. But with elective surgery – procedures people don’t need, but rather merely want – the risks can’t be justified. Pain is a significant drawback to plastic surgery, and recovery times can be as long as six months in some cases. Some patients may be at risk for severe reactions to anesthesia or may develop health problems such as hemorrhaging as a result of their surgery.
c. Doctors should heal, not waste their talent on appearance. Precious talent and resources are spent on this frivolous activity. Surgeons should do medical operations that are needed, not cosmetic procedures that are desired.
d. Cosmetic surgery is addictive. The compulsion to change one’s body is often a symptom of a deeper mental instability. It should be treated as a problem, not indulged and encouraged with surgery. It’s only a plaster patched over a much deeper problem.
a. It is not necessarily true that people undergo cosmetic surgery for the sake of looking as perfect as famous stars. Majority of those people do it to improve how they look physically, or to fix physical deformities that they think are unattractive to others. Though they do change their outward appearance, it does not mean that they are ignoring diversity and culture. And in the type of world we live in today, looks do matter in some instances. Let’s say, for example, two people are being interviewed for a potential job, and one candidate is completely put together and gorgeous, and the second candidate is not so attractive and looks quite disheveled. Who do you think would make the best first impression?
b. Cosmetic surgery is becoming safer and safer. It is increasingly strictly policed and sky-high legal pay-outs by bad surgeons have ensured that practitioners take more and more care. Technology in surgery and in implants and so forth is forever improving.
- Sheen, Jack H. “Closed versus Open Rhinoplasty-And the Debate Goes On.” Plastic and reconstructive surgery 99.3 (1997): 859-862
- Davison, Steven Paul, et al. “Prevention of venous thromboembolism in the plastic surgery patient.” Plastic and reconstructive surgery 114.3 (2004): 43e-51e.
- Matarasso, Alan, Richard W. Swift, and Marlene Rankin. “Abdominoplasty and abdominal contour surgery: a national plastic surgery survey.” Plastic and reconstructive surgery117.6 (2006): 1797-1808.
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It is not a secret that the standards of beauty nowadays are rather strict and demanding. No matter what combatants against discrimination say, appearances that match the existing beauty standards remain one of the crucial characteristics of a modern individual. People who are discontent with their appearances have different ways of improving the way they look, such as makeup, clothes, or being in harmony with themselves. However, there is a more radical alternative, which is effective in terms of changing the way a person looks like, but is highly debated and should be abstained from in the majority of cases: plastic surgery.
The foremost reason for not getting plastic surgery is that this procedure can become highly addictive (Huffington Post). Although a person might think they would do a single improvement, the temptation to keep “adjusting” one’s appearance can become overwhelming and lead to unpredictable and often sad results. The best examples of this are women like Cindy Jackson (who got 55 plastic surgeries, which is a world record), or Jocelyn Wildenstein, who is rumored to have spent about 4 million dollars on plastic surgeries. The
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