Summary: How do people choose which plastic surgery procedure they want when there are so many options? In some cases, patients are guided by what they see as the optimal end results. They know they want a certain result (a firmer tummy, for example), and they’ll pursue associated procedures. In other cases, patients seem motivated by a desire to eliminate an area of concern (excess skin around the tummy, for example) and seek out procedures to mitigate that concern.
How Do People Choose Which Plastic Surgery Procedure They Want?
Changing is constant, so the fact that body transformations are relatively common isn’t all that much of a surprise. But how do people choose which plastic surgery procedure they want to undergo? What is it about a facelift or a breast augmentation that appeals to someone to such an extent that this becomes the procedure they want to undergo?
Discerning where the appeal of a particular procedure comes from can be a challenge, but it usually has something to do with what the procedure can actually accomplish. That sounds like on overly obvious statement, I know, but here’s what I mean by that. The procedure in question usually addresses an area of the body the patient is uncomfortable with.
That is, people usually choose the plastic surgery procedure they want not based on any feature of the procedure, but instead based on what part of the body gives them the most discomfort (emotional or otherwise). If you’re bothered by a small bust, you might find yourself interested in a breast augmentation. Likewise, if you can’t stop focusing on the lines and wrinkles in your face, you might be drawn to a facelift. Knowing how people choose which plastic surgery procedure they want can tell you a lot about the popularity of plastic surgery in the first place.
Addressing Body Image Issues
It’s no secret that people with body image issues tend to be among the most common plastic surgery patients. But let’s pause for a second to talk about what “body image issues” actually means.
Most plastic surgery patients:
- Do not have “issues” with their entire bodies. Most plastic surgery patients are, in fact, quite confident. They just have a problem or some discomfort due to one or two areas of the body.
- Are relatively happy with how they look; they are just bothered by one specific area
- Have a good sense that once that addressing that specific area will lead to significantly more body comfort and self esteem.
In other words, the cliche that plastic surgery patients are trying to change their entire bodies is usually quite wrong. Don’t get us wrong–it is true in some rare instances, and sometimes there’s a pretty good reason for it. But as a general rule, plastic surgery patients are more focused on one or two areas of the body that are giving them trouble. And they want to solve those one or two issues.
Changing Shape vs. Reversing Aging
It’s also helpful to point out that elective plastic surgery usually has one of two purposes. The first purpose is to reverse the signs of aging. This is the type of plastic surgery you undergo when you want to eliminate lines and wrinkles. But it’s also the type of procedure you’re looking into when you’re interested in a procedure such as breast lift or breast reduction. These procedures are designed to make you look more youthful again.
On the other end of the spectrum are procedures that are designed to transform your aesthetics. These are procedures that change parts of your body that aren’t necessarily directly caused by signs of aging. A breast augmentation or a rhinoplasty would be examples of this type of plastic surgery.
Now, these aren’t mutually exclusive categories (for example, a tummy tuck or liposuction would straddle the line between each). And many patients will not necessarily be aware of these two categories (it’s not even as though they’re official categories of plastic surgery or anything like that). But understanding the different motivations of patients going in for surgery can help us better understand the needs of patients.
The Procedure Chooses You
For many, it’s not so much the patient that chooses the procedure; it’s the procedure that chooses the patient. In other words, the patient has a set of issues that they want addressed and, in conjunction with their plastic surgeons, they will choose a procedure that best addresses those issues.
Other patients have a very specific set of desired outcomes in mind. For example, some patients might just want a flat tummy. And anything that will help them do that will be the procedure of choice. In other words, sometimes patients are guided by the the solution rather than the problem (if that makes sense).
If you want to know more about what plastic surgery procedures are available–and how people choose which plastic surgery procedure they want–the best place for answers is actually your local board certified plastic surgeon.
- “Tips for Choosing a Cosmetic Surgeon.” American Board of Cosmetic Surgery, www.americanboardcosmeticsurgery.org/patient-resources/choosing-a-cosmetic-surgeon/.
- “Cosmetic Surgery Procedures.” About Cosmetic Surgery – American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery, www.cosmeticsurgery.org/page/ProcedureList.
- Gardner, Stephanie S. “Choosing the Right Cosmetic Surgeon.” WebMD, WebMD, 28 Jan. 2017, www.webmd.com/beauty/choosing_right_cosmetic_surgeon#1.
About the Author: Dan Voltz has been writing for plastic and cosmetic surgeons for years, using his marketing and copywriting skills to help surgeons better communicate with their patients (and patients communicate with their surgeons).