The idea of changing our own ‘imperfections’ was always felt like a pipe dream, to have the ability to pick and choose what you want to look like was something many surgeons throughout history have attempted to achieve. Most surgeries that altered people’s appearance were done out of necessity, as the medics and doctors were tasked with operating on soldiers who had suffered serious injuries, and in some cases life-threatening ones., so are there any dangers of cosmetic surgery?
The term ‘plastic surgery’ is a broad term that describes amending the body, this can be to fix damage done by illnesses or physical injuries. Cosmetic surgery is a form of plastic surgery that’s carried out on someone who’s usually healthy but wants to make permanent changes to their appearance.
While plastic surgery has been around in various forms throughout human history, it’s only within the past 20-30 years that it’s become normalised. Even more so in the past 10 or so years with the popularity of cosmetic surgery amongst celebrities and online influencers, no matter how small the changes.
With the trend not looking like it’s slowing down any point soon, e-Surgery has decided to try and understand why people are opting to go under the knife so willingly and whether the risks are to these seemingly life-changing procedures.
Hold onto your scalpel – we’re about to dissect the truth behind plastic surgery.
Let’s cut to the chase…
Why Are People Choosing to Get Cosmetic Surgery?
People have always strived to be perceived as beautiful or attractive. So, there’s no surprise that with the advancements in science, the demand for surgeries to be made accessible have increased. Its popularity comes down to a few main reasons, the first of which was the prevalence of surgery among celebrities.
It’s not surprising that celebrities, such as film stars, music artists or families famous for fame’s sake are the most recognisable people to go under the knife. Being in the public eye only creates this demand to look younger prettier or sexier. Being on the front cover of magazines and in front of the camera daily, mixed with the levels of wealth that come with being famous is the perfect cocktail for cosmetic surgeons. These changes in beauty standards impact the general population, especially the younger generations, to think that they must aspire to look like the people in the media, something that isn’t achievable naturally.
The growth of platforms like Instagram has put people’s physical appearance at the forefront. Physical appearance has always been an important factor in Humans social dynamics, but the world of influencers editing their images to appear as appealing to their audiences as possible has created this strange arms race for who has the best jawline… Social media platforms have become like walking advertisements displayed to the entire world, but for every member of society, this isn’t something that’s exclusive to celebs anymore.
Marketing & Advertising
It’s not a secret that companies have always used people in their adverts who are considered more attractive. This is due to brands not wanting to advertise their product with someone who is not what the public wants to aspire to look like. As sad as it sounds, it’s somewhat true. The psychology of selling means that most people see an advert and subconsciously they start to believe if they had that handbag or that suit, they would look like the person modelling it. It’s only in 2023 that this is starting to change, due to the growing demand for advertisers and brands to use models who are considered representative of the average person.
What Are the Most Popular Procedures?
Now, the list of cosmetic procedures seems to be growing year on year. One recently surgery procedure is lengthening people’s legs to make them taller, we know, you thought you’d heard it all right? We thought we’d go through a few of the main types of surgeries to gain an understanding of what they consist of and what it is people are having done to themselves.
This procedure, which is also known as a breast augmentation or augmentation mammoplasty, aims to increase the size or shape of the breasts. The surgeon will insert an implant which is usually made from silicone or saline underneath the breast tissue or chest muscle. This form of surgery is becoming common as the accessibility has grown rapidly in recent years.
Brazilian Butt Lift (BBL)
One of the biggest surgical procedures that is growing in popularity specifically amongst women is a BBL. In the procedure, fat is taken from areas of the body where there is excess fat, an example would be the abdomen or thighs, through a thing called liposuction. The surgeon would then purify the fat and inject it back into the body, but this time around the buttocks area to create a fuller and a lifted appearance. A Brazilian butt lift also helps to create a more curvaceous shape to the body, something which is of big appeal to both men and women.
Also known as lip injections or lip augmentation, these procedures are not surgical, meaning that the person carrying it out does not have to be a qualified surgeon. Lip fillers are designed to help enhance the size and shape of the lips to look more appealing. Typically, hyaluronic acid-based fillers are used to add volume, improve symmetry, and define the lip contours. The trained professional will inject the solution into specific areas of the lips to help create the desired look of the individual. However, the treatment is only temporary, so you would have to get them refilled regularly to keep them looking the same consistently.
Botox is a neurotoxic protein derived from Clostridium botulinum bacteria. In cosmetic use, it is injected into facial muscles to temporarily reduce wrinkles and fine lines by blocking nerve signals, causing muscle relaxation. This non-surgical procedure is commonly used to smooth frown lines, crow’s feet, and forehead wrinkles, providing a more youthful appearance. Botox injections are performed by trained medical professionals, offering quick and effective results with minimal downtime. It is a widely popular and safe option for individuals seeking to rejuvenate their facial appearance and regain a more youthful, refreshed look.
The Dangers of Cosmetic Surgery
Now obviously undergoing any surgical procedure comes with risk, and some come with more than others. It’s important that people are made fully aware of the risks involved in a medical procedure they’re about to undergo. Let’s look at the dangers of cosmetic surgery, specifically the one’s we’ve just been through!
There are a number of potential risks associated with breast implants, including capsular contracture, in which scar tissue accumulates around the implant and causes hardening and distortion. It is possible for an implant to burst or leak, exposing the body to silicone or saline. Inflammation or implant migration as a result of this is possible. Infections could potentially arise, necessitating the removal and cure of the implant. Breast implants are not permanent, and problems or aesthetic issues may mean revision surgery is needed.
Brazilian Butt Lift (BBL)
Having a BBL does come with very serious risks. Recent studies have shown that the mortality rate of a BBL is higher than that of other medical procedures. Fat embolism, in which fat particles can enter the bloodstream and travel to the lungs where they can cause a potentially fatal pulmonary embolism, is the key risk factor contributing to this. This major consequence emphasises how crucial it is to select a highly qualified and experienced plastic surgeon who prioritises safety, follows recommended practises, and meticulously screens applicants for the treatment to minimise the possibility of such a drastic scenario occurring.
Although lip fillers have grown in popularity as a non-invasive cosmetic treatment for fuller lips, there may be risks involved. An allergic reaction to the filler material is one concern, particularly if it contains chemicals the person is sensitive to. An unnatural appearance, asymmetry, or lumpy texture may be the result of overfilling or poor injection procedures. Complications include infection, haemorrhage, or tissue injury might occasionally happen. Since lip fillers are only temporary, recurring procedures are required to maintain results, which could result in overuse. It is crucial to select a trained, experienced medical provider and have a full consultation to go through specific health variables and reasonable expectations in order to reduce hazards.
Botox does pose potential risks and side effects even though it is typically thought to be safe when used by a trained medical professional. Bruising, swelling, and redness at the injection site are typical side effects. If the Botox travels to unanticipated locations, transient muscular paralysis or drooping may occasionally happen. Although uncommon, allergic responses are possible. The prolonged use of Botox may cause the emergence of antibodies or a resistance to its effects.
Incorrect Botox administration might also result in an odd facial look or a frozen expression, and nobody wants that, trust me. It is essential to seek therapy from a qualified professional with experience who can accurately assess the patient’s needs and deliver the injections with accuracy in order to ensure their safety.
What Are the Benefits to Undergoing Cosmetic Surgery?
The main benefits to undergoing cosmetic surgery are usually psychological. If someone has felt insecure their whole life from something as simple as the angle their nose is positioned, surgery can improve their mental health by reducing anxiety, stress, insecurity, self-esteem and depression. Breast reduction surgery is the removal of tissue from the breasts that can help reduce strain and inflammation in the lower back of people who previously had larger breasts. In other surgeries, such as liposuction, can help the body become healthier as it is a medical method of losing weight and removing excess fat. This makes the bodies risk of developing cardiovascular issues or diabetes diminish significantly.
Safety Regulations in the UK
To protect patient safety, cosmetic surgery in the UK is subject to extensive and strict safety rules. All providers of cosmetic surgery, whether surgical and non-surgical, must be registered with the Care Quality Commission (CQC), and they must also adhere to strict standards of quality and safety. The General Medical Council (GMC) registration requirement for professionals undergoing cosmetic surgery ensures their credentials and adherence to professional norms.
Doctors can also get advice from the GMC on how to behave ethically and professionally, with an emphasis on patient safety and informed consent. By ensuring that cosmetic treatments are performed by trained experts in suitable healthcare facilities, these regulations aim to safeguard patients from potential dangers and promote a culture of patient safety within the cosmetic surgery sector.
Cosmetic Surgeries Abroad
Due to cosmetic procedures being more costly in the UK, many are flying across Europe to countries that can offer the same procedures but considerably cheaper. While it may be cheaper, it can come with additional risks. Knowing if the surgeon is qualified by the right governing bodies is harder to know as patients might not be as familiar with how each countries surgical standards are enforced. Aftercare is also an issue due to many surgeries abroad not having surgeries in the UK that are easier to access if anything were to go wrong post procedure.
Making Informed Decisions
It’s vital that you are fully informed of the risks before deciding to undergo any medical treatment, no matter how small or large it may seem. Before you decide to book a cosmetic surgery, make sure that you ask the surgeon about the side effects or potential complications of the surgery. Also make sure that you have done your own research, this includes on what is involved with the surgery, peoples report on what their experience has been like, as well as learn more about the experience and accreditation the surgeon, surgery, beauty therapist or salon have, as it may just save you from making a permanent mistake.
At e-Surgery might not be cosmetic surgeons or beauty therapists but we’re medical professionals who care about every aspect of your health. Make sure to use our free to use ‘Ask a Pharmacist’ service that puts you in direct communication to one of our pharmacists who can offer you the best advice to help you with your medical needs.