Several months ago as I was traveling I found myself with an extra-long layover between flights. In an attempt to kill time, I went to the book store in the terminal. I began to peruse the magazines and stumbled across a very interesting cover from Time Magazine (pictured above). The title “Nip. Tuck. Or Else. Now everyone gets work done. Will you?” Immediately grabbed my attention. I purchased the magazine and set off to read. The article focused on the increased acceptance of cosmetic interventions both surgical and non-surgical in nature. In the United States alone, over fifteen-million cosmetic procedures were performed in 2014. This is a 13% increase from 2011 and more than doubled from 2000. This growth is tremendous, to say the least.
One of my greatest fears with the increasing popularity of cosmetic surgery is that as these procedures become more of a common occurrence; the serious nature of the surgery is often overlooked. My fear is perfectly illustrated in the article:
“Americans feel much more comfortable these days with the idea of cosmetic enhancement. A 2014 Survey by MSN found that 62% of people would say, upon finding out that a friend had work done, “good for them!” Another survey, from the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery, last year found that 52% of people are considering aesthetic treatments, up from 30% two years ago. Cosmetic surgery has become the new makeup” (Time 2015).
Cosmetic Surgery is not the “new makeup”! I have never known an incision to wipe off with a moist washcloth at night. Makeup does not have risks of bleeding and infection with daily application. You do not need “recovery time” or “dressing changes” following your daily applications of makeup. It is not as simple as wiping your makeup off and starting over if you don’t like the way it looks. As someone who has never worn makeup, I can’t speak from experience. However, I imagine that one does not generally experience several days of discomfort following the application of makeup.
My point being is that while this is “fun” surgery, different from having your tonsils out or your gallbladder removed. It is still, none-the-less, surgery. It requires a great deal of thought and planning prior to deciding to proceed. In fact, when I come into the room to greet my patient the day of surgery, I always ask them how they feel. If their only sentiment is one of excitement, I know I have not done my job of adequately letting them know what to expect.
Cosmetic surgery is a life changing event. I find it a privilege to take this journey with my patients. It is not, however, something to be taken lightly. It is serious and requires serious consideration. Just because you are the only one in your office, family, social group, or on the block who has not had a procedure doesn’t mean that you need it. Changing, enhancing, or softening your appearance is a decision for you and you alone. Cosmetic surgery can be a life changing experience; however, for the unprepared and under-educated patient, it could potentially be a change for the worse.
When people ask why I chose to do what I do, my answer is always the same; “Because I help people on the path to feeling good about themselves.” I take my job very seriously. I want your result to be as perfect as you do. I simply ask that all my patients take their role in this process as seriously when considering the risks associated with surgery.
Dayne R. Jensen MD. DMD
1. Stein, Joel. "Nip. Tuck. Or Else." Time Magazine 29 June 2015: 40-48 print