American Society of Plastic Surgeons
For Medical Professionals

Securing your investment: Plastic surgery as a catalyst for lifestyle change

plastic surgery as a catalyst for lifestyle change

In the contemporary world, plastic surgery has become more than a quest for aesthetic enhancement – it's evolved into a catalyst for individuals to adopt healthier lifestyles, sparking changes that can impact their overall well-being.

This transformation ensures the longevity of surgical results, protects the substantial financial investment made in the procedure, and ultimately enhances the patient's quality of life. In this article, plastic surgeons Brad Gandolfi, MD, FACS, and Roy Kim, MD, shed light on this aspect of plastic surgery, showing how it's not just a physical alteration but a psychological journey toward self-improvement.

A journey of self-improvement

Patients commonly gravitate towards certain plastic surgery procedures, such as tummy tucks, due to an underlying unease or insecurity associated with their physical appearance. This discomfort with their own bodies frequently acts as a catalyst, leading them to consider cosmetic surgical interventions.

"People can make dramatic changes in their psychological well-being because it allows them to reframe themselves," said Gandolfi.

A simple adjustment can result in a significant alteration in their self-perception, leading to increased confidence. Moreover, he noted a palpable shift in patients' self-assuredness, usually around three months after surgery.

"The change in their confidence is almost palpable," said Gandolfi. "The way that they hold themselves, even coming into the office, can completely change over the course of three months."

A shift in demeanor reflects their growing contentment with their physical appearance and reaffirms the psychological benefits of plastic surgery, and the change isn't limited to mere self-perception. It extends to every facet of their life, from interpersonal relationships to professional interactions, instilling in them a newfound sense of ease and comfort with themselves.

The financial aspect of plastic surgery

Although they've become more accessible over the years, cosmetic surgical procedures are still a considerable financial commitment for most people, and, as Gandolfi stated, the investment is not a one-time endeavor.

"Cosmetic procedures are expensive," said Gandolfi. "It can be more or less expensive based on where you live, but in general, you're looking at the price of a used car – or a new car, for that. But unlike a used car or a new car, you're going to be in this 'vehicle,' your body, forever. So, I do think it makes sense to make that investment. But I think a common misconception for a lot of people is that plastic surgery is a one-and-done, quick-fix kind of thing."

He emphasized the need for the patient to take care of themselves in the long term as it will affect them as much as the surgery. This holistic approach to self-care ensures the durability of the surgical results, enhancing the return on the financial investment.

The essential role of a healthy lifestyle in plastic surgery

A healthy lifestyle is essential to all of us, but it becomes even more relevant when discussing maintaining the results of a plastic surgery procedure. For instance, Kim discussed the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle after surgery.

"If I don't think about my diet and exercise, I'm going to gain that way back in those areas that I just had surgery on," said Kim.

The lack of a healthy lifestyle can diminish the surgery results, even resulting in a recurrence of the issue the surgery intended to address. He also touches on the damaging effects of not maintaining a healthy lifestyle, including habits like smoking and excessive drinking.

"Not maintaining a healthy lifestyle has a lot to do with health, including not wearing sunscreen, drinking too much, smoking too much," said Kim. "Whatever you're doing in terms of money or effort, or both to maintain your skin, you're fighting it every time you smoke, vape, do drugs, drink too much, hang out in the sun, etc."

He emphasizes that good health is an integral part of preserving the surgical results, indicating that individuals should see surgery as a starting point to a healthier lifestyle, not a means to an end.

"Plastic surgery is awesome, and it makes a big difference in a couple of hours," said Kim. "But to maintain the results, it will be about consistency over time."

Kim also suggests that living a healthier lifestyle contributes to psychological well-being, reducing anxiety and depression. He highlights that plastic surgery is about maintaining happiness and not just physical appearance. According to him, investing in oneself through plastic surgery requires taking the necessary steps to get the best out of it.

A real-life transformation

When asked about examples of real-life patients who benefited from a healthier lifestyle, Kim described a patient who regularly saw him for Botox and fillers. Although she was generally happy with the results of each procedure, he noticed there was room for a healthier lifestyle that could further enhance her physical well-being beyond what his services could offer.

The patient was a frequent attendee of nightlife events, and this lifestyle had her staying up late into the night, regularly, almost every weekend, which Kim believed could potentially negatively affect her overall health and appearance. He advised her to reevaluate her lifestyle choices, suggesting that her current routine might not be the best for her health and wellness.

Heeding his advice, she cut back on her weekly nightlife activities and opted for occasional attendance at special events and music festivals instead. This lifestyle change resulted in noticeable improvements in her health. Her hair became thicker, she appeared younger and she even required less Botox. While she still loves music and occasionally indulges in these events, she now balances her passion for music with a healthier lifestyle, which has made all the difference.

Making the most of your plastic surgery procedures

The decision to undergo plastic surgery can be a turning point, prompting individuals to adopt healthier lifestyles that enhance their well-being.

It's not just about the physical transformation but also about the psychological benefits that come from better self-perception and confidence. This paradigm shift allows patients to reap the full benefits of their investment, both financial and emotional, leading to an overall improved quality of life.

To find a qualified plastic surgeon for any cosmetic or reconstructive procedure, consult a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. All ASPS members are board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, have completed an accredited plastic surgery training program, practice in accredited facilities and follow strict standards of safety and ethics. Find an ASPS member in your area.


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