What is the purpose of Cosmetic surgery, are cosmetic and plastic surgery procedures one and the same?
It could be argued that cosmetic and plastic surgery are very similar in that the end result is to create a more acceptable appearance, however the reasons for having surgery is what ultimately provides the difference.
Cosmetic surgery (also known as elective surgery) is purely for improving the external appearance; this type of surgical procedure is requested by patients meaning the patient chooses to undergo surgery as it is in conjunction with aesthetic appearance rather than general health.
Plastic surgery is performed to improve, correct, restore or reconstruct defective physical features which have been damaged by injury or trauma, disease or defective due to growth and development issues.
However the need for improving the physical appearance can have massive implications on the psychological needs of the patient. Having a defect or disfiguration however it was caused, either by birth defect or simply being unhappy with one's own appearance is sometimes a huge obstacle in how you feel about yourself and how you are accepted by others.
There are a number of cosmetic procedures which are simply about vanity, striving to be ageless, to have removed all the signs of aging such as lines and wrinkles, sagging skin, for example face and brow lifts to defy signs of gravity, these procedures are purely cosmetic and have no bearing on health.
However some procedures such as breast enlargement or implants can help to improve or correct development of the breast. Sometimes women's breasts grow at a varied rate, leaving one breast relatively larger than the other or perhaps puberty came and went all too quickly without providing a natural growth, these two issues can leave women feeling as though they are missing something, out of proportion or not feeling womanly enough.
The decision to have breast implants is not always to end up with a cleavage which looks false, but more to even out the breasts or to actually create the appearance of a cleavage. Having no cleavage can be difficult even for wearing women's clothing, as most tops cater for at least a very small cup size.
Another example for opting for cosmetic surgery is for a nose job or Rhinoplasty. Unfortunately our noses are the focal point of our faces, nature chooses what type of nose we are stuck with and in the main many of us can accept this, as our noses are proportioned to our faces. There are some, which nature made too large, or too long, too wide or uneven. Having a appendage which is on show everyday can be the root of many years of bullying or teasing in the school grounds which leads to being self conscious, lowering self esteem and making us truly unhappy with our appearance, cosmetic surgery for people this applies too is a small price to pay in exchange for normality.
Cosmetic surgery has been performed for centuries; so in this day and age it is no different, people want to look good, feel good and be comfortable with themselves without being self conscious, for instance people who have worked hard to lose weight, and yet after all their efforts still suffer from sagging in skin in the abdominal region no matter how much they exercise can feel that nature has had the last laugh, by having a tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) the scars of obesity whatever its cause can be reduced which in turn leads to emotional healing.
For those who may never need it, cosmetic surgery can seem like a self indulgence, spending lots of money striving for perfection, but for those who have suffered years of taunting or being the brunt of others jokes, cosmetic surgery can be the start of healing from the inside.
Anna Stenning investigates the reasons why people choose to undergo the knife with cosmetic surgery vanity or necessity?