(Excerpted from Dr. Peter Adamson’s book Fabulous Faces (available on Amazon.com) and edited for our blog.)
Many fears are based on what we don’t know, as well as what we think we know. Many people have preconceived notions about cosmetic surgery. Their assumptions are based on myths and hearsay. Knowing the facts can clear up most misconceptions and dispel their fears at the same time.
Myth: Only rich people have cosmetic surgery.
Plastic surgery used to be the preserve of movie stars, models, and the very wealthy. They’d visit exclusive clinics in New York or Los Angeles for a facelift or rhinoplasty.
In the fifties and early sixties, the trendy thing was the “nose bob.” Everyone who was anyone wanted a pert little nose, also known as the Debbie Reynolds or Judy Garland look. Some procedures were even named for the doctors who performed them. Manhattan surgeon Irving Goldman developed a rhinoplasty technique that produced a small nose with a slightly upturned tip. Having the “Goldman tip” was instantly identifiable and a sure sign that you were part of the in crowd. These changes had nothing to do with your personality or character. In fact, they often disguised the real you.
Today, facelifts and rhinoplasties are meant to achieve the opposite result. They reveal rather than disguise character and aren’t supposed to announce themselves. It’s not about standing out; it’s about blending in.
Some skeptics believe that people have cosmetic surgery to change themselves into something they’re not. The reality is quite the opposite. Most people who have cosmetic facial surgery are driven by a desire to discover and reveal who they really are. It’s not about looking for the “new me.” It’s about finding the “real me.” The rewards of that discovery can be considerable. A face refreshed by cosmetic surgery, or a facial contour problem resolved once and for all, can and often does generate a new spark of vitality.
When it’s done “under the radar,” the changes are both dramatic and subtle. You could walk past one of my Toronto patients and never suspect that they had “had work.” They look great, but they don’t look like they’ve had anything done. The “done look” is the last thing they want.
These types of people also represent the new face of cosmetic surgery in North America. They’re ordinary people and definitely not part of the entertainment or fashion industry elite. In 2005, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) surveyed people considering plastic surgery within the next two years. Seventy-one percent of respondents reported an average annual household income of $60,000 or less, and 30 percent earned less than $30,000. Cosmetic surgery is no longer just for the rich.