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Plastic Surgery: Fact vs Fiction
Plastic and cosmetic surgery is one of those fields where myths and falsehoods abound. From it only being suitable for the rich and famous, to how dangerous it is, we separate the fact from the fiction!
Fiction: Plastic surgery is only for the rich
Fact: This is not true - as most patients undergoing plastic surgery are ordinary, middle-class people, earning somewhere around $80,000/ZAR 1 200 000 a year. This fact is borne out by statistics from the American Society of Plastic Surgery (ASPS). And in fact, many different and flexible payment offers are available to patients.
Fiction: Plastic surgery is called that because it uses synthetic materials
Fact: Not true! The word ‘plastic’ comes from the Greek word plastikē word, which means to ‘reshape’ or ‘mold’, and the surgical procedures mostly involve the reconstruction or manipulation of tissue.
Fiction: All plastic surgery procedures are invasive
Fact: Not so, as many frequently performed and popular cosmetic procedures are pretty much non-invasive and mostly involve no or minimal down-time from work. These include oxygen facials, Botox, mesotherapy, chemical peels and CoolSculpting, to mention but a few.
Fiction: You need to travel far from home to have your plastic surgery procedure done
Fact: Plastic surgery is on the increase all over the globe, so no, you are not necessarily going to have to go to one of the ‘plastic surgery capitals’ of the world for your procedure. You are almost certainly going to be able to find a reputable, and experienced plastic surgeon in Cape Town, or Birmingham or Indianapolis, or wherever it is you may be living.
Fiction: Plastic surgery is only for women
Fact: Though it certainly is a fact that the vast majority of people undergoing plastic surgery are women, the number of men undergoing these procedures has been steadily on the rise over the past decade. It currently stands as high as 15% of the total number of patients undergoing cosmetic surgery and is set to increase further, as men are becoming more comfortable with the idea of actively wanting to enhance their appearance.
Fiction: Plastic surgery is only for the vain
Fact: This is a myth that has persisted for many years and is not true. Many surveys have shown that patients derive genuine benefits from plastic surgery in terms of improvements in their quality of life, their confidence levels and psychological well-being.
Fiction: Botox is a dangerous toxin
Fact: Botox is indeed a toxin, the botulinum toxin that causes botulism, a type of food poisoning. However, the dosages used in cosmetic procedures are so minimal that Botox, in fact, has an extremely good safety profile. There are no reported cases of people getting sick after the procedure at all. It is interesting to note that Botox is also used successfully in several other medical procedures.
Fiction: It takes a really long time to recover from plastic surgery procedures
Fact: With recent significant advances in anaesthesia, the alleviation of pain and surgical techniques, the downtime associated with many plastic surgery procedures have been markedly lessened. Patients can, therefore, expect to return to their healthy daily lives relatively quickly, though healing from surgery obviously does take time. Healing and recovery time obviously also depends on what the procedure was that was done.
Fiction: Breast augmentation is really dangerous
Fact: Breast augmentation has been the most common cosmetic surgical procedure performed in the US for well over a decade. So there is a wealth of experience and research to draw on in this field. It must be noted that any surgery does carry a risk, so it is absolutely essential that prospective patients be very well informed about the operation and what it involves.
Fiction: Plastic surgery leaves no scarring and will last for the rest of my life
Fact: Regrettably, no. Any surgical procedure that cuts into the skin will leave some scarring, and although plastic surgeons are very skilled at minimizing the scarring, they cannot eliminate it. And whilst some plastic surgery will indeed have long-lasting results, this cannot be guaranteed to be life-long, as the ageing process continues.
Fiction: Liposuction removes cellulite
Fact: Alas, no! The fibrous tissue that is the cause of cellulite is not removed by liposuction. And removing the fatty layer that sits just under the skin may, unfortunately, actually make the cellulite more noticeable.
Going under the knife
And finally, whether you decide to have plastic surgery or undergo a cosmetic procedure, the one thing you should always do is inform yourself thoroughly about it and everything that is involved in it. Please don't be shy to quiz your surgeon about it and ask them for referrals from other patients.
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