Care Or Curse? - The Deleterious fad that is cosmetic surgery

 In an interconnected, paparazzi fuelled shallow world, where people look upon and try to emulate superficial celebrities, celebrities whose only discernible skills are their “assets”, the quest for looking good and presentable is a never ending one. Consequently, the cosmetic industry globally has burgeoned as people are putting out all stops to look “beautiful”. It’s an industry which is big and growing at a scorching pace, but as with any other goods or services, its caveat emptor. Because of all the surrounding hoopla, the question that automatically arises is –“Do We Really Need Cosmetic Surgery”?


A typical abdominoplasty , or removing fat cells from abdomen is an expensive protracted procedure, whose effects can be felt and seen even after months post-surgery. It is a debilitating exercise which takes six weeks to resume normal activity and nearly half a year for the scars to disappear. But such hassles are a minor cause for concern for most middle aged women as more and more of them are harboring any qualms of going under the knife. The ramifications of such a procedure are duly ignored for a much coveted body shape and size. The inherent risks such elective surgeries pose- right from the subsequent need for further corrective surgeries to the body’s unknown response to such artificial tweaking – are increasingly taking a backseat and not given due importance. Moreover, people having a history of cardiac problems or diabetes, may precipitate a graver situation by opting for such surgical processes. Very often it is seen, the need for surgery stems from patient’s own flawed sense of inadequacy, generally caused by a traumatic past – an acute case of psychological imbalance.

As there has been a major improvement in general wellbeing and our longevity has increased many folds, people are constantly asking themselves the question –“I am going to live another twenty years. Do I have to look like this”? And with plenty of disposable income, people are increasingly resorting to such procedures without giving any second thought. The evolution of our society where cosmetic procedures are considered to be mundane acts and no longer raises eyebrows as well as major advancements in surgical techniques have also given a fillip to such procedures


This compulsive need to look good stems from our age old obsession with beauty, something that is passed through generations. Several anthropological studies indicate that attractive people tend to be more successful. Our subconscious mind rightly or wrongly connotes beauty with success. Studies have shown that babies stare longer at beautiful faces, attractive people have more chances of being successful, they have a better social status, can find better life partners and are more virile – especially beautiful women.
 It is these widely accepted social norms that are compelling us to become obsessed and go to extreme lengths to alter the way we appear


Mental & Physical Scars

However, every cosmetic procedure does not have a happy ending. A survey undertaken by the American Association of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery has thrown up some alarming data. As per the survey nearly 15% of all rhinoplasty (nose job) recipients needed a subsequent corrective surgery. The recent controversy surrounding the high rupture rates of breast implants because of the spurious substances used by the French Company PIP, once ranked as the world’s No 3 maker of silicone breast implants, has also cast a shadow of doubt over such techniques. Since PIP nearly exports 80% of their toxic materials, one can only imagine the sheer number of potential victims all over the world.

If such harrowing tales still do not deter you, then consider the tragic fate that befall thousands of women in China, who had to horribly suffer from the side effects  of “Ao Mei Ding” or “man-made fat” injections, a liquid gel used for breast augmentation. In the most severe cases, the women have had their breasts surgically removed to expel the liquid. After wide spread public protests, the manufacture of this gel was subsequently banned by China in 2006.


Not only their physical health, psychologically, cosmetic surgery patients are found to be more vulnerable. Studies have clearly shown cosmetic surgery patients to develop several crippling social and personal problems and distinct traits of narcissism. Such problems generally arise from a harrowing past, neglected upbringing or even sexual abuse. Distorted perceptions of beauty created by a senseless media, where fair skin and slimmer bodies are idolized have spawned a cultural fixation with youthfulness. So such procedures are increasingly looked upon as virtual gateways to the fabled fountain of youth.
For many, cosmetic surgery can indeed become a raging addiction, where nothing is good enough. Needless to say such addictions can lead to wanton procedures which in turn can be perilous


Our perception of beauty should not be subverted by the media or a set of people. We must not quest for something that is unattainable at a risk to ourselves. It takes courage to embrace the way we are. The choices we make in life go a long way in defining us. So start loving that way you are, not the way you could be