Plastic Surgery Facts – debunking 15 myths

Considering Plastic Surgery? Of course, you are, or you probably wouldn’t be reading this. If you’re considering it, I suspect you’ve done your homework. If so, then you’ve come across a lot of people with a lot of different opinions about it, what’s good about it, what’s bad.  You may have a hard time finding a definitive source for plastic surgery facts – not opinions, not scare tactics, not unicorns surfing rainbows while eating Skittles.  If you want some cold, hard facts, then you’re in the right place. Read on and debunk the plastic surgery myths you may have uncovered. Fact-checking is popular these days, and there’s no reason you shouldn’t do a little Plastic Surgery Fact Checking of your own.

The following items are in no particular order at all, so feel free to skim through them in any fashion you prefer.  We structured this in such a way as to present a commonly held myth that we will then provide a more accurate answer for.

Think of it as Plastic Surgery Mythbusting, which, in hindsight, would have probably been a better title for this post. Here’s goes:

 Cosmetic Surgery and Plastic Surgery is the same (Not True)

  • We have another post that provides more information on this subject.  Click Here
  • This is a common misconception, but you should understand some critical differences between Cosmetic Surgeons and Plastic Surgeons.
    • The primary and fundamental difference is that each discipline is trained with a different goal in mind.
      • The Plastic Surgeon is trained in reconstructing the body and facial defects due to disease, burns, trauma, or birth disorders.
      • The Cosmetic Surgeon is trained entirely to enhance their patient’s appearance by improving proportion, symmetry, and aesthetic appeal.
    • The training each goes through can be similar – almost identical, in fact – but it can also vary widely, and this is where you, as a prospective patient, really need to do your homework.
      • Plastic Surgeons need 150 Cosmetic Surgery cases to graduate.
      • Cosmetic Surgeons need an additional 150 Cosmetic Surgery cases and training in all areas of Cosmetic Surgery to graduate.
    • Board Certified Plastic Surgeons indicate Plastic Surgery training and experience but do not indicate the same for Cosmetic Surgery.  Depending on the residency training the surgeon accomplished, cosmetic surgery may or may not have been included.
    • Board Certified Cosmetic Surgeons have gone through a full year of fellowship training exclusively in cosmetic surgery, during which they train on all cosmetic surgery procedures in addition to performing at least 300 individual cosmetic surgery procedures.  This training is in addition to a 3-5 year residency program.

Cosmetic Surgery mythbusting: plastic surgeons do not equal cosmetic surgeon

Cosmetic Surgeons and Plastic Surgeons are the same (False)

  • As explained in the previous point, the training and experience of a Plastic Surgeon compared to a Cosmetic Surgeon can vary widely.  A key point to consider is that any licensed physician can legally perform cosmetic surgery, regardless of how they received cosmetic surgery training.  Given this, you should research your surgeon’s credentials, his schooling, his residency program, and where he has worked before.

Plastic Surgery Myth: Lipo is an easy way to lose weight

Liposuction is an easy way to lose weight (No, it isn’t)

  • Bear in mind that liposuction is primarily intended to contour the body and improve troublesome areas resistant to normal means via dieting and exercise.  Liposuction, as a means of weight loss, is not a good treatment.
  • Liposuction can be used to treat obesity when dieting and exercise have failed, but even then, the goal is (typically) more about body contouring than weight loss.

Cosmetic Surgery Myth: Lipo gets rid of cellulite

Liposuction gets rid of cellulite (Sorry, no)

Liposuction removes the fat cells below the fiber-like tissues that cause cellulite and can make the cellulite look worse.  Be sure you talk to your doctor about this as there are procedures and methods you can consider if cellulite is your primary concern.  This may or may not include liposuction as well, but your doctor can best guide you on this.

Plastic Surgery is only for women

Plastic surgery is only for women (No)

  • I wish I could say that as many men as women have plastic surgery, that isn’t true.  The latest stats show that about 10% of all plastic surgery procedures performed are performed on men.
  • The two most common procedures performed are Rhinoplasty (nose job) and Gynecomastia (male breast reduction).

Only vain people have Plastic Surgery (False…mostly)

  • Bear in mind the above definitions of Plastic Surgery vs.  Cosmetic Surgery – Plastic Surgery is intended to repair physical defects, while Cosmetic Surgery is about enhancing the patient’s appearance.  With this in mind, this myth is probably more connected to Cosmetic Surgery than Plastic Surgery.
  • Most of the highly visible (read: Hollywood) types of Cosmetic Surgery procedures you see so much about are, in fact, about vain people trying to look better.  What isn’t so highly publicized is the person next door who just had the rhinoplasty to fix his or her nose a little bit and, while that was happening, fix that deviated septum also.  Or the car crash victim/burn victim/birth defect victim/you name it that had plastic surgery or even cosmetic surgery to take care of a problem area.  These are simple cases of people approaching cosmetic surgery to not look like the latest hot model but rather to improve their quality of life.  Nothing vain about that.

Plastic surgery is not covered by medical insurance (Not true, some of the time)

  • This is often true, but it’s false enough of the time to register on our Plastic Surgery Mythbuster meter, so let me explain.  Insurance will cover the cost of plastic surgery if that surgery is intended to fix a legitimate medical problem. Here’s a few areas where your insurance carrier may surprise you:
    • Rhinoplasty: If you have a deviated septum, there’s an excellent chance your insurance company will foot the majority of the bill for a rhinoplasty—no harm in asking.  Aesthetic changes to the nose probably won’t be covered. Still, a high cost of any plastic surgery is anesthesia, operating room costs, miscellaneous costs (gowns, meds, etc.) that will be covered for the rhinoplasty.
    • Breast Reduction: If your doctor determines your breasts are large enough to cause you back pain, a breast reduction is something your insurance carrier may well pay for. Bear in mind that this is for legitimate problems, so a small downsize probably won’t be covered.
    • For more information about typical Plastic Surgery costs, take a look at this article.Only the wealthy can afford plastic surgery

Only the wealthiest get plastic surgery (Nope)

  • Not really.  Although the procedures are largely elective in nature, it seems the general public is willing and able to spend money regardless of their economic status.
  • Take a look at a few telling statistics from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons
    • 71% of patients have less than $60k annual income
    • Nearly 1/3 of patients have less than $30k annual income
    • Only 13% have more than $90K annual income
    • Largest segment of patients fall between the $31k-$60k annual salary range

I’m too old/young for plastic surgery (No, no, no)

Please take a look at this article – it does a great job of breaking down the age groups and the most common Plastic Surgery procedures associated with each.  I’m betting by the time you finish reading this, your “I’m too young” or “I’m too old” concerns will be gone.

Department store skin products are just as good as the stuff from my plastic surgeon (probably not)

  • No, they’re not.  Sorry
  • Medical grade products have the most powerful active ingredients, higher concentrations of those ingredients, the latest formulations, better penetration, and they’re scientifically proven to work.  The average department store product will have less effective ingredients, at lower concentrations, use older formulations, and have very little chance of penetrating and the medical-grade product, which is essential because the real work has to be done under the skin’s surface.

Breast implants increase your risk of breast cancer (no, they don’t)

I can go on and on about this, but I will probably never be able to state it as well or with as much authority as they do on the Susan G. Komen website.

Plastic surgery is only for the old young middle aged

Plastic surgery is only for the young/old/middle-aged (Incorrect)

Please take a look at another of our posts that discusses this in detail.

Plastic surgery results last forever (We all wish)

When your plastic surgery procedure is done, and you have completed your recovery period, it’s useful to think of that as a kind of reset for whatever body part you had work done on. It’s just that, a reset. This means that your age, diet, exercise, smoking, drinking, late nights, etc., etc. will all affect how well your plastic surgery “holds up”.  Plastic Surgery is not a miracle cure for aging – your body is still as hold as it was before the surgery, and, alas, our bodies break down over time. Your body is still breaking down at precisely the rate it was before your surgery. So no, your plastic surgery results will not last forever.

All plastic surgeons are the same (No)

This was discussed a bit above when I compared Plastic Surgeons to Cosmetic Surgeons and Plastic Surgery to Cosmetic Surgery.  For more info on this, I encourage you to read the exhaustive article that explains the differences between the two and tells you what you can and should research your surgeon.  Because, to answer the question emphatically, “NO, all plastic surgeons are not the same.”

Facelifts remove fine lines and wrinkles form around the mouth (Sorry, no)

    • Not entirely true. A facelift does not exert enough pull to smooth out “smokers lines” – botox is recommended for this, although chemical peeling and laser resurfacing are also effective.

I hope you enjoyed this article and, more importantly, learned a thing or two.  If you have questions about anything Plastic Surgery related, please fire them off to us, and we’ll work on getting them answered; if enough folks ask the same question, we’ll include it in our FAQ or even create a dedicated page about it. A lot of the information for the above article was obtained from the below websites.  All of them are excellent and should be used for additional research on plastic surgery facts, if needed.

Lastly, one of the most important things you can do when considering plastic surgery is to ensure you understand how to best prepare for it.  We’ve written an article about it, of course, and it’s one of our most popular ones.  Please see it here:  How to prepare for plastic surgery.