The field of plastic, cosmetic, aesthetic and reconstructive surgery is commonly misinterpreted as an area revolving around vanity only. When you think plastics you think boob jobs (breast augmentation) or tummy tucks (Abdominoplasty). It is more than just merely making someone look good. People tend to forget that in trying to look physically good, you also feel good inside.

Why Is My Reflection Someone I don’t Know?

There are people who want to aesthetically modify their looks into something they have always desired. Cosmetic surgery is a vertically rising market which, according to the Global Cosmetic Surgery and Services Market Analysis 2015-2019, is worth over USD20 Billion and is predicated to increase to USD27 billion by the year 2019. North America was the leading continent for this field but it is now slowly shifting towards Asia which is considered to be the next frontier.

Plastics can involve surgical treatments or non-surgical treatments. Surgical treatments are the ones involving contouring, reconstruction and implantations. Getting non-surgical treatments done is a quite popular and it can easily be done as outpatient procedures in the clinic. This includes injectables like Botox, energy based treatments such as laser treatment, radio frequency and intense pulsed light therapy and active cosmetics such as lightening treatment or scar removal.

Contrary to popular opinions, these surgeries are not done left and right. Major reconstructive procedures require further evaluation by the attending surgeon plus a psychiatric consult. It is important to rule out the condition known as Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD). BDD is an illness wherein the individual is obsessed with imaginary physical defects with their body. Identifying this condition would save the individual from undergoing numerous unnecessary cosmetic surgeries.

Besides ruling out psychiatric conditions, a psychiatric consult is there as well to help with the transition. Transgenders who chose to undergo Sexually Reassignment Surgeries (SRS), which may involve procedures like vaginoplasties or phalloplasties, require this consult. Since this is a major life change, the support from a professional psychiatrist would help in the process of transformation and not to deem them as mentally unstable. The psychotherapy does not attempt to correct their gender identity belief but to help them adapt to it. As this is an irreversible surgery, the patient is required to go through a period sometimes termed as the “Real Life Test”. This is the period where the individual will live the life of the gender they identify with to the greatest extent possible. This is to assess their ability to psychologically function in that gender role through all activities of daily living.

When Will My Reflection Show Who I am Inside?

Some people may feel trapped inside their bodies. This is where vanity equals to sanity. Having the confidence to go out in the world with a look that makes them feel happy about themselves should be the bottom line. Transgenders feel like they were born in the wrong body. People born with physical deformities are always reminded that they are different. Accident victims wake up every morning not recognizing who is staring back at them in the mirror.

Plastic surgery corrects this problem. The plastic surgeon may not be the one to pull out a diseased organ or to suture up mortal wounds. The plastic surgeon is the one who takes away the agony of your physical image and makes you feel whole again. MIMS

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