Overdoing It: When Plastic Surgery Becomes Inappropriate

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Plastic surgery’s social acceptance and popularity increase every year, and with it, the number of procedures performed. Although it is a reasonable choice for most people who opt to be patients, some people have unrealistic expectations and questionable motivations, which can lead to excessive surgery if not kept in check.

Board-certified plastic surgeons use an initial consultation to evaluate the appropriateness of a patient and their wishes. He or she will take into consideration the patient’s inability to describe the desired change, unreasonable preoccupation with perceived flaws, anxiety, self-esteem, depression, and other potential red flags.

Having multiple procedures simultaneously or spaced several years apart is not necessarily a sign of excessiveness. Instead, it’s the patient’s history of dissatisfaction with surgical results and his or her tendency to focus on minor imperfections and see them as inordinately large problems that are more accurate indications.

“Individuals with low self-esteem who obsessively focus on minor flaws or believe that surgery will work a miracle in their lives are bound to be disappointed and dissatisfied. Such persons are not appropriate candidates for cosmetic surgery,” the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery has stated. “In extreme cases, individuals exhibiting these traits may suffer from body dysmorphic disorder (BBD), a rare psychiatric condition characterized by an uncontrollable preoccupation with an imagined or slight defect in appearance. Responsible surgeons try to identify inappropriate patients during their preoperative evaluations, and do not recommend surgery for such individuals.”

Some of these individuals can mask psychological problems, and even the most attentive surgeon may miss the signs and proceed with surgery. If the surgeon is able to see the signs and advise against surgery, unfortunately, the prospective patient may seek out irresponsible surgeons who will perform the desired operations, not only inviting unnecessary risks, but often leading to the overdone and sometimes grotesque look seen on several celebrities and so routinely criticized in the media.

Do you know someone who’s “gone overboard” on plastic surgery? Which celebrities have gone too far? Who’s gotten it just right? Tell us your opinion by leaving a comment below.

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