Many myths surround the glamorous world of plastic surgery. But the fact is that it’s a lot like every other medical specialty with highly-trained physicians. Here we bring to you seven common myths associated with plastic surgery.
MYTH #1 Plastic surgery is only Cosmetic surgery
There you have got it completely wrong. Cosmetic or Aesthetic surgery is a sub-speciality of plastic surgery. Plastic Surgery is a wide speciality which covers a variety of surgery from head to toe! It is rightly called the ‘problem solving specialty’. It covers reconstructive surgeries where a plastic surgeon could be fixing a traumatised part of the body in an attempt to make it functionally and aesthetically better to cancer reconstructions where the removal of a tumour has left one completely disfigured to be rehabilitated into the society. Replantation of amputated parts (usually limbs), facial fractures, acute burns, post burn reconstructions, hand surgeries (ranging from congenital abnormalities to the acute fracture or repairing a slashed wrist in a suicidal attempt), cleft surgeries, coverage for chronic wounds, diabetic foot , breast surgeries, sex reassignment surgeries, the complete range of facial surgeries, removal of tattoos, lasers, hair transplants and of course your quintessential cosmetic surgery. The list is too huge to pen down.
MYTH #2 Plastic surgery can make me look like someone else
No, it can’t. Period. We are not magicians neither are we God. Sorry, we can’t do it. We can fix up a particular feature in your appearance that disturbs you or you are not happy about but we can’t copy- paste. Very often, we are met with demands by patients who want to change a particular feature or their whole personality into someone else’s. Most often the surgeon would avoid operating on such patients because they know that these patients will never be happy with whatever they are offered. This also results in dissatisfaction of both sides. A vicious cycle follows many a times. It is very important to discuss your expectations with your surgeon and make sure that the patient and the surgeon are on the same page.
MYTH #3 Plastic Surgeons use artificial substances (silicon, plastic)
Probably the greatest myth about this branch. The word ‘plastic’ is derived from the Greek word ‘plastikos’ which means ‘to mould or give form’. So, although implants are used in quite a few surgeries but by no means they are the be all and end all of our branches. Our speciality lies in using a dispensible tissue of your own body and moulding it to fix up the deformities or problems in another part. There was a time when implants were quite a rage but gradually the shift is towards autologous reconstructions. Having said that, I must also mention that the implants used now have also become a state of the art with high safety levels. It actually depends on the case’s merit as to which modality (autologous or synthetic) is decided upon.
MYTH #4 A plastic surgeon can make my scars vanish
Once a scar, always a scar. No one can make it vanish. Patients are most often surprised when they are presented with this fact. A bad scar can be made into a better scar. A scar can be made finer with surgery but can never go away completely. To get a good scar also depends on a lot of other factors like the skin type, sun exposure, post operative therapy etc. What we also do is make the scar look inconspicuous by trying change its direction and make it run along the natural skin crease lines. And, many a times the patients do tell us “Hey doc, you did a wonderful job, the scar has stopped to worry me now!” We take a bow.
MYTH #5 Plastic Surgeons are same as skin surgeons
Well, reality check again. There is nothing called as ‘only skin’ surgeon. Plastic surgeons are much more than skin surgeons, they deal with all the deeper tissues that lie much beneath the skin. Just a fraction of surgeries are on the skin and most of them require tissue handling at a much deeper level. Muscles, tendons, nerves, fat, blood vessels! Oh! There’s a lot happening beneath your skin!
MYTH #6 Plastic/Cosmetic surgery is frivolous and only for people in showbiz
True that people in the showbiz made plastic surgery famous because they remain in the public eye all the while but you will never realize that your neighbor gets her botox shots every six months or the reason of her shapely abs is a tummy tuck! Our patients range from a lady belonging to a village in Rajasthan whose husband wants her to have fuller cheeks to the aspiring actor from the most urban localities. They cannot be bound by definition.
MYTH #7 Plastic Surgery costs a bomb
Well, any super-specialised surgery doesn’t come cheap because of the high level of skills, labour and infrastructure involved, so yes it is not inexpensive. It also depends on what procedure you are looking for. For some it is like saving up for an iphone or a gadget you have been thinking to buy. So, barring the emergency procedures, plastic surgeries can be planned at your own pace.