Anyone who reads a celebrity magazine knows how much the stars love plastic surgery. A little nip here, a little tuck there. Breasts that are youthful and substantial. Faces that hardly age. In many cities there are health care professionals from many backgrounds – from board certified plastic surgeons to ear, nose and throat doctors, to dentists – who are all too happy to take your credit card number and take you under the knife for the sake of beauty. The airline magazines are full of their advertisements and examples of their “art.”
If only these doctors were really magicians who could just wave a magic wand and you’d suddenly be shapely and beautiful. But it doesn’t work that way. First of all, some doctors who enter this lucrative field are not very good. You can end up with breasts that don’t look natural, a face lift that is way too tight, nerves that could be damaged and – increasingly, no matter how good the doctor is, an infection.
I was startled to read the other day that American surgery patients have a one in 20 risk of getting an infection. And sometimes these infections are very, very hard to cure because the “bugs” are resistant to our most powerful antibiotics. That’s why I urge you to think twice when having an elective procedure like cosmetic surgery. That doesn’t mean you shouldn't have one. It means you have to seriously consider the risks, and as a smart consumer, look for where you can have the least risk and the most value. Don’t get caught up in the “art.” Your first responsibility to you and your family is to protect your health. So, in this age of common infections and aggressive medical marketing, take a deep breath, do your homework, and proceed with caution.
Your family will still love you if you look more your age, won’t they?
About the author: Andrew Schorr is a medical journalist, cancer survivor and founder of Patient Power, a one-of-a-kind company dedicated to bringing in-depth information to patients with cancer and chronic illness. Audio and video programs, as well as transcripts, help patients make informed decisions to support their health in partnership with their medical team.