Understanding cosmetic surgery limitations

Understanding cosmetic surgery limitations

23rd Feb 2017

A successful plastic surgery intervention should not be noticeable. Plastic surgery is an art and the plastic surgeon is sometimes just like a sculpture. As an artist that creates a masterpiece, the plastic surgeon uses his skills and knowledge to design cutting edge techniques to contour and remodel the body to create beauty and harmony, improve functionality and deliver aesthetic results that would boost the confidence and self-esteem of the patient.

There is probably no other medical discipline where beauty plays such an important role than in plastic surgery. A plastic surgeon can create works of art on patients with his strong sense of aesthetics, eye for beauty and a deep understanding of human anatomy.

The importance of the patient’s anatomy

The main difference between art and plastic surgery is that the plastic surgeon doesn’t start his masterpiece with a blank canvas. The plastic surgeon has to work with the patient’s material, which means that the patient’s anatomy and individual features before plastic surgery are very important. On top of this, when it comes to plastic surgery, the plastic surgeon has to take into account the patient’s personal goals and expectations from the intervention, profession, social and cultural environment.

This is why it is essential to understand the limitations of cosmetic surgery, what it can and cannot do. When I see patients coming to my office with a picture and asking me to transform them into a clone of the person in the photo, I know it will be difficult for them to understand that I cannot just change their anatomy completely. And if this would be really possible, we would be seeing a lot of celebrity copies walking up and down the street in every city in the world.

Some patients have thick tissues that are difficult to work on; others are soft and flexible and allow the surgeon to create more natural shapes. To be able to achieve a good result, it is best to start with realistic goals. Do not ask for perfection. Ask instead for surgical possibilities that would enable the surgeon to deliver the best possible results for you. The plastic surgeon can improve the size and shape of the buttocks or the breasts and you will most certainly look much better, but this doesn’t mean that your body will be perfect after plastic surgery or exact duplicate of your ideal of beauty.

Let’s discuss a pretty common example: the breasts. Most women have to deal with breasts asymmetries and it is only natural to be this way. One breast can be smaller than the other, but in many cases, the differences are barely or not even noticeable with the naked eye. Even after plastic surgery to augment or lift the breasts, it could still be a little asymmetrical. Perfect symmetry is an illusion and it can’t really be achieved even with the help of plastic surgery.

Trying to adjust your physiognomy just so you can copy the latest beauty trends is never a good idea when it comes to plastic surgery. The beauty standards vary from one society to the other and from one generation to the other. Plastic surgery provides, in most cases, a permanent alteration of the features that it works on. This means that your body or face will never be identical to the one you had before plastic surgery.

It is also important for the patients to keep in mind that plastic surgery can only provide impressive results when the patient is willing to put in the effort to follow the pre and post- operative instructions given by the plastic surgeon. Know also that complications such as vicious scarring can still happen even if the plastic surgeon is highly experienced and the patient was strictly following the guidelines. One of the variables in surgery is the body’s ability to heal and deal with the trauma caused by plastic surgery. Everything can be done right but things could still go wrong.

Plastic surgery: psychological implications

Characterizing plastic surgery as a symbol of vanity and narcissism is obsolete. During the last decade, we witnessed an explosion of demands for plastic surgery interventions, globally. The impact of mass and social media, which advocated a beauty-obsessed culture, has greatly contributed to this boom in the industry.

From a psychological point of view, plastic surgery interventions might offer patients a significant boost in levels of self- esteem. After plastic surgery, the patient feels better, looks better and can perform better professionally and socially. Perceptions of attractiveness do translate into more self-confidence and increased charisma. But this does not mean that plastic surgery will change your life completely. We have seen people on TV or read about them in magazines proclaiming how their lives improved for the better after undergoing a plastic surgery intervention. They got the desired promotion at work or even a new, better-paying job, their lover back or a new life partner, they met more people and discovered new business opportunities, ad nauseam. This can certainly happen for some people, but these happened as a result of increased self- esteem and an improved self- image. Categorically, this does not mean that you will get a new job or a new partner after a plastic surgery intervention. The aim of plastic surgery is to simply improve your appearance; the rest is up to you. Many patients carry on with their lives just like before the surgery, with no notable changes, aside from the joy and satisfaction of finally getting the body they have always dreamt about.


The art of plastic surgery can be found in the natural aspect of the results achieved and is very dependent on the material offered by each client. A plastic surgeon’s genius is in his ability to apply his impressive medical skills and match it with the desires of the patient, so the doctor- patient team can start the journey with the same shared expectations from the procedure.

The patient’s anatomy plays an important role in determining the results of the surgery. It will be very difficult for a plastic surgeon to give you an hourglass shape if you have V-shaped buttocks with little fat deposits on your body. He will, however, improve your appearance according to the things you discussed during the initial consultation.

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