People choose to have cosmetic surgery for many reasons, most of which revolve around altering various body parts in order to look better.
Surgeons report that they regularly come across men and women who are seeking cosmetic surgery for the ‘wrong’ reasons. And in recognising this reality, professional guidelines require surgeons to evaluate the prospective patient’s physical, psychological and emotional health. Your surgeon will ask about your medical history, observe your demeanour and by talking with you, try to understand your personality, motivations, and psychological condition.
So what would make cosmetic procedures wrong for you?
- Medical conditions – There is a long list of medical conditions, including chronic illnesses that could make you a less than ideal candidate for cosmetic surgery. If you have any of the following, it might not be safe for you to have surgery:
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol levels
- Lung disease
- Haemophilia or other bleeding disorders
- Arthritis and other inflammatory processes
- Severe allergies
- Lifestyle choices – Excessive drinking and smoking, using recreational drugs and steroids, can all make healing after cosmetic surgery complicated.
- Personality Disorders – Surgeons may decline to perform surgery on people with personality disorders associated with psychiatric conditions and complications that can make them unsuitable candidates for cosmetic surgery. These include paranoid, histrionic, schizoid and depressive personality disorders.
- Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) – A type of psychiatric illness where the sufferer is preoccupied with his or her own appearance, often focusing on a minor flaw—real or imagined—to such an extent that it impacts their social, personal and professional life. Men and women with this illness are obsessed with imperfections in their bodies. They are often attracted to cosmetic surgery to the point of addiction.
- Depression or grief – When you are depressed, sad or grieving, it is easy to feel that a change in the way you look will change the way you feel. It won’t. Decisions made when you are not your usual self may turn out to be bad decisions. Wait until you are feeling better and can fully appreciate the pros and cons of surgically changing the way you look.
- Financial problems – If you are pressed for money, or are actually in financial trouble, cosmetic procedures are the last thing you should spend your money on. Cosmetic surgery is not a sensible option for people who have trouble paying bills and putting food on the table.
- Magical thinking – If you believe that one particular procedure (or a whole number of them) can change your life, making you a better, more popular and more desirable person, cosmetic surgery is not for you. If you feel lonely, want a better job, a better life or someone to love, cosmetic surgery will not help. Believing in yourself and adopting a positive attitude will take you much further in the search for happiness. Cosmetic surgery can improve self-esteem, but if your sense of self hinges on the size of your breasts or the shape of your nose, you need to change your attitude, not the shape of your body. You may need professional help to change the way you feel.
- The desire to please – The only person you should try to please by having cosmetic surgery is yourself. Changing your body to please someone else is a losing proposition. If you want to change a relationship, you need to work on the relationship, not your body. We are all much more complex than a collection of our body parts.
- The desire to revive a failing relationship – This is one of the worst reasons to have cosmetic surgery. If someone does not love you, does not want to be with you, no longer finds you attractive or prefers other people’s company to yours, no cosmetic procedure will change that.
- The search for perfection – Perfection is not something any surgeon, however inspired, can give.
Any kind of surgery is a big deal and should not be decided upon lightly. Cosmetic surgery requires a lot of thought because in most cases it is elective—not medically necessary. Ethical cosmetic surgeons will make every effort to determine if you are a suitable candidate for surgery, medically, psychologically and emotionally. As for the reality check, you have to do that for yourself.