The Surgeon Minute

Does Plastic Surgery Improve Lives?

Does Plastic Surgery Improve Lives?

Almost everyone has physical imperfections, it is a fact of genetics and life. In some cases, those imperfections can lead to a lack of confidence and low self-esteem, whether it be an abnormally large nose or misshapen breasts. For those struggling with feelings of insecurity, plastic surgery offers much more than just physical change; the specialty has the potential to provide and cultivate a life-changing experience.

Each year an increasing number of men and women are turning to plastic surgeons to improve their appearance. For some, it’s the shape of their nose. For others, it might be a post-baby belly bulge, sagging breasts or an aging face. According to board certified plastic surgeon Dr. Tracy Pfeifer of New York City, “Plastic surgery is not just a physical thing. It’s not just about how you look, it’s about how you feel about yourself.”

Pursuing Plastic Surgery for the Right Reasons

While plastic surgery can improve quality of life for some patients, plastic surgeons are the first to point out that it is not the answer to everyone’s self-esteem issues. “Patients need to be doing the surgeries for the right reason,” emphasizes Dr. Pfeifer.

Motivation and expectation play an important role in determining who is a good candidate for plastic surgery. This means that patients need to understand the limitations of surgery and have realistic expectations going into the procedure. Studies have shown that patients with unrealistic expectations for surgery are much more likely to be dissatisfied with their results. Regardless of how great the surgeon is, if a patient has a disorder known as body dysmorphic disorder, they may never be happy with the outcome of surgery.  

It can also be a red flag for surgeons when a patient is undergoing surgery for the sole purpose of looking like someone else. “We could all say we want to look like this person or that person,” says Pfeifer. “But really, you’re never going to look like another person.We’re always going to be our self, and we want to look like the best version of ourselves.”

Plastic surgery is not something that should be done on a whim; surgery is a major undertaking involving risks and limitations. Time spent with a plastic surgeon during the planning process is important for determining who is a good candidate for plastic surgery and who is not.   

Adding Beauty to Function

“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” is an adage you won’t likely find hanging in a plastic surgeon’s office. While some plastic surgery procedures address both form and function, part of the joy of a plastic surgeon’s job comes from adding beauty to something that is already perfectly functional.

Plastic surgery providing self-esteem.

“There’s a reason why people are artists and they paint things, and there’s a reason why we have architects that build beautiful buildings,” says Pfeifer. “We could all live in a little concrete apartment building, very drab and dreary. It’s still functional, but it’s not bringing any beauty and light into the world.”

Take for example a person who feels perfectly healthy, but when they look in the mirror they see someone who looks tired and much older than they feel. Through facial rejuvenation procedures, Dr. Pfeifer is able to restore their enthusiasm for life. When they look in the mirror after surgery, they like what they see – and most importantly – they see what they feel inside.

A Renewed Sense of Self-Confidence

One important goal of plastic surgery is to help patients feel more confident and secure in their own bodies. Mothers, in particular, often find themselves feeling insecure after pregnancy takes it’s toll on the body. “Sure, people want to have children, but nobody really tells you how your body is going to change,” says Pfeifer. “They’re thinking, ‘I love my children, but I still want to feel happy about my figure. I want to feel confident. I don’t want to give up.’”

Mommy makeover surgery - before and after.

After undergoing a mommy makeover, many women feel like they have finally gotten their old bodies back again. “When you have a patient come in, six or eight weeks after her surgery, you just can tell – she’s happy,” shares Pfeifer. “She feels better, she’s a little lit up from within. You can tell right away that there has been a change.”

Plastic Surgery Can Have a Positive Effect On:

  • Self-Confidence
  • Energy Level
  • Personal Life
  • Work Life

The Privilege of Being a Plastic Surgeon

“As plastic surgeons, we’re privileged,” says Pfeifer. “People are bringing you into their life and they’re trusting you. It’s really important that we listen to our patients and be responsive to them.”

Finding the right surgeon is a critical step towards achieving a great, natural surgical result. A plastic surgeon can make a big impact on your life, and the decision is an important one. Your plastic surgeon should be both board certified and highly recommended by other patients who have undergone the procedure you desire, as well as well-versed in the procedures you’re interested in.

“I’ve always felt very positive about plastic surgery,” shares Pfeifer. “What would bother me is that people would think that it was very superficial, and that it’s not important, if you’re not doing reconstruction for example. I feel totally the opposite. I think it’s extremely important.”

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