We spend a lot of time agonizing over our physical flaws, but do you think that cosmetic surgery might make you happier? Recent findings from the National Plastic Surgery Survey show that 87 percent of Canadian women would like to change at least one of their body parts. Breasts were the second most popular after stomach. Here, plastic surgeon and author of Timeless Beauty Dr. Julie Khanna explains why most of her patients seek our surgery, and why surgery isn’t the best option for many women.
Q: Why do most women seek out cosmetic surgery?
A: I would venture a guess that the number one reason is that we feel good on the inside and we are working-out more and being more health conscious, and we want the outside to match. There are things that are out of our control, such as the changes that occur with our bodies with pregnancies or such as the changes that occur to our body after major weight changes, and we just want a little bit of balance brought back into our lives. [We want] the internal happiness to match the external happiness, and sometimes we feel that this is disproportionate. Surgery can help achieve a better balance with how we feel on the inside and how we appear on the outside.
Q: What’s the connection between being happy and having breast augmentation surgery?
A: Several surveys have been done over the years showing an increase in patient satisfaction, self-esteem and even happiness associated with having breast augmentation surgery. Our breasts are our outward expression of our femininity. When we think of a female form we always draw that curved line, and when you are lacking that it does affect, somewhat, your self-esteem. Breast augmentation is a very short, long-lasting operation which can achieve excellent, natural results to help re-establish the natural shape and curve we all desire.
Q: If you’re unhappy with how you look, how can surgery help?
A: Surgery is not the be all end all; surgery is not a replacement for good health and exercise. Surgery will not all of a sudden cure all of our world’s problems. However, if you have realistic expectations and a realistic plan or area that you would like to improve, surgery can help fix those areas with great results. But I think it is very important to have realistic expectations, understand the risks and complications that can be associated with surgery and make sure that you have a balanced and educated approach to surgery. Surgery cannot change your life; however, it can change your appearance and give you more confidence in certain areas.
Q: Do you ever turn women away for certain procedures; if so, why?
A: Surgery is not for everyone. There are many patients who do not have realistic expectations about surgery, [and] these patients are really not good candidates. Surgery is not an indication for someone who is overweight, unfit, and unhealthy or has other medical conditions that make them inappropriate for surgery and is trying to use a surgical procedure as a replacement for good health and exercise. I do turn many patients away and I tell them “come back when you are ready,” “come back when you are in the right frame of mind, right body shape and you are ready to have surgery.” Surgical procedure is a teamwork procedure. It is the surgeon, the patient and the surgical team working together to get the optimal result.
Q: Women generally obsess over their appearance; shouldn’t we be looking for non-surgical ways to be make peace with how we look?
A: I always believe that doing less is more. If a simple non-surgical option can give you a good result, that is always the best way to start. Surgery is not for everyone: You have to understand the risks; you have to make sure you are going to someone who is qualified to perform your surgery and to give you the best results and that you have realistic expectations and that you are a healthy, appropriate patient for surgery. If all these criteria are met, then perhaps surgery is for you. It is always prudent to explore all options, both surgical and non-surgical, before going straight into a surgical procedure.