Does “Cosmetic” Mean Unnecessary?

Does Cosmetic Mean Unnecessary
As a patient, you may find some of the same prejudice. People tend to be opposed to something new which they don’t understand. You may feel, or may be made to feel, that a cosmetic operation is something that you ought to be embarrassed or guilty about having. I hope to persuade you not to feel that way.

Cosmetic surgery is like much of modern surgery: Cataract sur­gery, hip replacement surgery, bunion surgery as well as facelift sur­gery are all Ydt-improving, not life-saving operations. If someone labels your cosmetic operation “unnecessary,” don’t bother to feel guilty. You’re in good company.

And cosmetic surgery isn’t insignificant “just” because it makes you look better. Almost every patient we have in Ukraine with Overseas Medical tells us “I know I’m only doing this for my looks.” True, perhaps, but it makes “looks” sound of little importance. In fact, like it or not, your looks are very important because they affect how you feel about yourself and how others feel about you. Surgery that’s “just” for looks includes every­thing from cosmetic breast enlargement to reconstructing a badly burned face — any kind of operation that changes your body visibly.

Pauline was a slightly discouraged teenager who had had a series of operations for a stomach disorder. Her upper lids were heavy and drooped over her lashes; this ran in her family. When Pauline needed another stomach operation, she pleaded to have her eyelids cosmetically improved at the same time. She couldn’t explain why. She desperately wanted it done. Reluctantly, her parents agreed, though they clearly felt that they were encouraging vanity and frivolity. After all, Pauline needed the stom­ach surgery. The eyelid surgery was “totally useless.”

The two operations were done together. For the first time, Pauline was not seriously depressed after an operation. In fact, her therapist found her in bed with a palette of eyeshadows and a book on makeup. Ten days after surgery, when she was discharged home, she was allowed to wear her eye makeup. “Needing my stomach operated on always makes me feel like something defective that ought to be thrown away,” said Pauline. “But now that my eyes are fixed and the eye shadow shows, I feel pretty good.” Her cosmetic surgery had done what nothing else could do: It made her feel that she was attractive, not a reject.

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