Just How Much Plastic Surgery Is Too Much?

A national society of professional plastic surgeons released a report that said 17.1 million various cosmetic plastic surgeries got performed across the United States throughout 2016, which was a 3 percent increase as compared to 2015. Breast augmentation was the number one cosmetic surgical procedure, and that’s held the top spot going back to 2006. Aside from breast augmentation, the other top five 2016 procedures were facelifts, eyelid surgery, nose reshaping, and liposuction. As the number of folks that choose plastic surgery each year goes up, the question then becomes, just how much plastic surgery winds up being too much?

It only takes one single surgery. It might be a surgery that goes really well, or it might go so bad that it ends up on a reality show. In either case, a patient might get tempted to get even more work done. This can happen because successful plastic surgery can convince someone it works, and they should do more of it to get even more benefit. 

On the other hand, having a bad surgery can just as easily motivate the desire for corrective surgery. In either case, things can lead to too much plastic surgery very quickly.

Successful surgeries can make patients happy about their appearance and improve their self-image. The problem can start when someone starts getting hooked on the praise and compliments that they get from the results. It’s almost like a high that someone experiences and they want it again and again. For instance, after having children, a mother might go in for a tummy tuck. If the surgical results are something that she’s happy with, then she might also consider a lip augmentation and breast lift among other things.

Something else that makes it all the more likely for some patients to get too much plastic surgery is that a number of practices will go through upselling specific procedures or even offer credit plans and reduced prices for anyone that gets multiple procedures. While volume discounts and bulk pricing are common practice in many industries, are these other plastic surgeries really necessary? Not every surgeon or office will do this, as some even turn folks away that don’t really need something or wouldn’t benefit from the risks involved. However, plastic surgery is how they actually make their money, and so they offer it to as many people as they can.

Alternatively, surgeries that turn into negative experiences mean that patients typically look for even more surgeries to fix the things that went wrong. Some plastic surgery disasters might wind up being an eye-catching TV episode, but situations like these aren’t normal. Rather, according to one Cleveland Clinic plastic surgeon, it’s just a case of unmet expectations, like breasts that aren’t as big as they should be or a nose that isn’t as symmetrical as it could be.

One other reason that some people look to get too much plastic surgery is that they have body dysmorphic disorder. The Consumer Guide To Plastic Surgery defines body dysmorphic disorder as having an obsession with any body or facial trait as a form of exaggerated self-criticism. For instance, some research indicates that 3 out of 5 women between the ages of 18 and 35 thought of themselves as fat. On the other hand, only 1 out of 4 were actually technically medically overweight. Research suggests that body dysmorphic disorder affects only 2 percent of the population, but 12 percent of known plastic surgery patients have it, so there is definitely an impact.

Whatever the reason for too much plastic surgery, the results can be both scar tissue as well as tissue that dies during the healing process. Both can wind up becoming unhealthy tissues. Scars are often considered a cost of doing business or even just a necessary evil and price to pay for invasive plastic surgery. However, some scars can potentially be worse than others. Scars generally appear as something flat with a pale color that is either pink or white, and they might fade over time. However, some scars will actually go down a deleterious path in their healing, getting worse over time. Such scars might be classified as either keloidal or hypertrophic. Both of them will form thanks to excessive collagen production during the process of wound healing. Collagen is a kind of protein which gives wounds structural support which seals the incision with a number of other components. If a body winds up going into overdrive and makes too much collagen, then a discolored and raised scar might happen.

When raised scars stay inside the initial incision’s boundaries, then they are called hypertrophic scars. Alternatively, scars that grow outside and past the original boundaries of the scar are classified as keloids. These scars might turn from red into brown and even have a lumpy appearance. When left untreated, many keloid scars can continue their thickening for indefinite growth. Skin that has darker pigmentation is more likely to have keloid formation.

Fortunately, many plastic surgeons are actually looking for signs and symptoms of body dysmorphic disorder and other warning signs of people that might be looking for too much plastic surgery so that they don’t wind up providing it. When someone wants too much plastic surgery, their initial provider might refuse to do it, meaning they jump to other providers looking for it, and without medical records being shared or spread, then following providers won’t really know if previous work has been done or even attempted or requested for.

It’s conducive for plastic surgeons to look for such warning signs in the early consultations for many reasons. Partly it’s to avoid lawsuits from such patients, either for surgery being provided when it shouldn’t have been or because they were denied. However, it’s also to help protect such individuals. Those that are helped to recognize their body dysmorphic disorder or other issues can get help thanks to cognitive therapy and other treatment options that are available for those that decide to pursue it.