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Don J. Fontana, MD, PA
The Psychology Of the Patient Seeking Cosmetic Surgery
Don Fontana, MD

The Psychology Of the Patient Seeking Cosmetic Surgery

The only constant in life is change. Whether it involves the political landscape, the social standards, or the fact that our physical appearance is also changing with age. The aging process can be graceful for some and quite unpleasant for others. The transition from a youthful appearance to child bearing age to middle age and beyond is to a large degree a matter of perspective. And it is during these transition periods that patients consider cosmetic plastic surgery. It was a short time ago when the perception prevailed that anyone considering cosmetic enhancement was either very insecure or vain. That mindset has evolved to an entirely different attitude towards cosmetic surgery. A 2010 survey shows that more than half of all Americans approve of cosmetic surgery. What is the motivation of an individual considering cosmetic surgery?

When one mentions the words, “plastic surgery,” the male brain most frequently thinks of breast enhancement surgery. In 2010, breast augmentation ranks again as the most popular plastic surgical cosmetic operation. Breast surgery is not just breast augmentation. Women with very large breasts suffer from the same body image issues as women with very small breasts. A woman's motivation for breast enhancement, whether breast augmentation, breast reduction or breast lift is not to please her husband, but to compliment her figure in a balanced, esthetic appearance.

Patients seeking body contouring with liposuction also have been misunderstood. The general perception is that if you are overweight, do not like exercising or dieting, then liposuction is the solution. Nothing could be more incorrect. The patients seeking liposuction are typically, fit men and women who despite exercise and dieting have been unable to reduce the fat in a particular anatomic area. Remember that there is no device or technique that can effectively reduce “localized” anatomic areas of body fat other than liposuction. If you have done your best to lose weight, diet and exercise, and still have problem areas, then consider a consultation with a plastic surgeon for liposuction.

The second most popular surgical procedure is rhinoplasty, surgery to reshape the nose. The public is more forgiving of patients requesting this operation especially if there is an obvious, bump or excessively large nose. Family members are the most critical when they say, “that is Grandpa's nose. Why would you change it? “The standard of a perfect rhinoplasty is the end product looks so natural and attractive that the nose looks as if it had always been that way. Patients with large, crooked noses with bulbous tips or flaring nostrils realize that their nose is out of balance with the rest of the face. The sign of a good plastic surgeon is the quality of his rhinoplasty patients. If you feel your nose in not balanced with your face, consider a consultation with a plastic surgeon.

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