To do or not to do....THAT is the question

So I’m ruminating over celebrities in the press declaring their wars against Plastic Surgery. Julia Roberts put out a makeup free selfie on August 31 and her post started with ‘Perfection is the disease of a nation.’ She goes on to say ‘It’s the soul that needs the surgery’. So I agree and I disagree and here’s why…

The perception that Plastic Surgery breeds perfection is unrealistic. Perfection is unattainable, in my opinion, because who sets that standard? What is the benchmark for ‘Perfect!’? It’s a personal opinion. I am so far from perfect and I will never be perfect. And I’m really OK with that. I don’t tell patients that I can build perfect. I can try…I will certainly bring my A game and execute what I believe is a ‘perfect’ operation. No one is perfectly symmetric from the right to the left. We would look completely different than we do now if we were perfectly symmetric…and in most cases so different that it is not even appealing.

The desire to soften a wrinkle, to fill a line…maybe to flatten a tummy or erase a bulge: that’s not a disease. If it helps contribute to self-esteem and happiness for any given individual, isn’t that a positive thing? Yes, I do believe our society puts an extraordinary emphasis on how to look, what to wear. I’m pretty sure everyone has heard about the thigh gap. If I knew someone with a thigh gap, I’m pretty sure I’d buy them a cheeseburger before I’d help them celebrate an unrealistic appearance. Now if someone comes to my office with concerns for a little too much cheeseburger on their thighs and wants to improve upon that a little, I’m all in. I have had more liposuction than I really should admit…but when I have pursued that it was to correct something that bothered me and I was happy with the result…which means I feel better, more positive, and more confident. That does not sound pathologic to me.

To not wear makeup: that’s not cutting edge. I don’t wear makeup most days. Today I’m in tattered jeans and flip flops because it’s 5am and I will be changing into scrubs soon to operate all day. I do not have on full makeup, my hair is still wet. And that’s OK. I’m not a better or worse person for it. Next week I’m injecting Dysport and fillers into patients, and I will partake of some wrinkle softener myself. And that’s OK, too. I guarantee I will still be able to animate, to laugh, to cuss, to cry and the world will not have to wonder what I’m thinking.

I do not think if you choose to make changes on the outside that it translates to not loving yourself. Yes, there are some that really do pursue external changes to compensate for something that might be broken on the inside. It is my job as a surgeon to make the determination in such a case that a person may not be a reasonable candidate for a procedure. Plastic surgery in all its different forms cannot fix the inside. Sometimes the soul does need surgery. I applaud those that know that and strive to correct whatever part of their psyche might be ‘broken’. I do not think skin care or wrinkle correction undermines that journey.

I met Julia Roberts once 9 years ago. I was pulled off the street in Times Square when she was on Broadway because someone thought I resembled her enough that we should meet. I was escorted back into the theater and shook her hand. All she said to me at that time was, ‘you’re so pretty’. I do not recall if I had makeup on or not but I guarantee my Dysport didn’t hide my joy at the time.

Here’s up to it!


Emily Mclaughlin1 Comment