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Cosmetic Surgery Too Much of a Good Thing?

November 26th, 2012

When is cosmetic surgery too much of a good thing? I filmed a segment for the local Fox News Affiliate here in Minneapolis, hosted by Medical Correspondent, Dr. Archelle Georgiou.  They filmed part of the segment while I was performing a lower blephaorplasty or lower eyelid surgery.  My patient did have some other plastic surgery  in the past and while gathering routine background information, Dr. Georgiou inquired whether I felt that the patient was perhaps choosing cosmetic surgery too often.  In other words, did I think the patient suffered from a possible cosmetic surgery addiction?  As with all my patients, I am careful to evaluate a patient’s motivations for surgery and attempt to uncover any unhealthy desires for seeking cosmetic surgery.  In this case, I feel confident that my patient had legitimate concerns regarding the unsightly bags under her eyes and that she was an excellent candidate for eyelid surgery.   She expressed realistic expectations from the surgery and in my opinion; she is certainly not a cosmetic surgery addict.

However, while we are on the topic, let me elaborate. There are several characteristics that are common among cosmetic surgery addicts and for the most part, they are not dissimilar to other addictions.  Patients that have Body Dysmorphic Disorder are likely to seek cosmetic surgery to correct “perceived” physical flaws.   This disorder has significant psychological components and it is unlikely that any amount of cosmetic surgery will correct feelings of having physical deformity that may not exist.  This disorder leads some patients to have excessive cosmetic surgery.    As a physician, I feel a professional and moral obligation  to refer patients that exhibit these difficulties to the proper psychological care when it is appropriate.  

Without a doubt there are patients who do suffer from this problem.  The pop culture media machine is quick to point out the cosmetic surgery obsessions of Michael Jackson, New York’s “Cat Woman” and Joan Rivers, to name just a few.  

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Too Much of a Good Thing – Making Money

September 29th, 2009

Joan Rivers has had a lot of cosmetic surgery by her own admission.   In her book,  Men Are Stupid…And They Like Big Boobs, she presents her opinions, impressions and attitudes regarding cosmetic surgery and what it has done for her.   Clearly she believes in having cosmetic surgery and considers it to be an  important option available for women today.

Some say she has had too much done.   Certainly, in my opinion, her appearance does not look natural.   If this is the definition of having too much done, then I would have to agree.   Yet there are many women and men which have had  as many  facelifts, eyelid surgeries, injections, and facial implants as Joan Rivers which look completely natural and refreshed.  People have different opinions in judging an attractive aesthetic, which often varies regionally or culturally.  What people want to look like in Los Angeles, may not be the ideal benchmark in New York or Paris.

I believe the reason for Joan River’s love of plastic surgery is not as pathologic as perhaps Michael Jackson.  I suggest that the reason for her obsession might be related to her income.   Her ability to work as a personality is perhaps shored up by her extensive cosmetic surgery.   First her physical appearance of not looking age 75 or of having a peculiar cosmetic processed facial appearance creates Hollywood buzz.   Secondly, her confidence in presenting herself may be stronger because she feels that she looks her best after all this cosmetic surgery.   This phenomenon  is actually more closely related to Lizardman,  who has pushed the limits of physical appearance through body modification.  Surgery serves as a vehicle for attention.  He  has had  so much done to himself that he now makes personal appearances for a fee.   It has become his job.   Pure and simple, it is my theory that these individuals have done this for fame and fortune.  Controversy sells!

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