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Cosmetic Surgery - Vanity or Healthy Choice?

By Rex Ryan

Cosmetic and plastic surgery has long been associated with vanity, but mounting evidence suggests that in many cases cosmetic surgery can offer substantial health benefits. Nose jobs can offer real health benefits in addition to improving the symmetry of the face. Face lifts have been shown to increase life expectancy. And eyelid surgery can create significant vision benefits for some people. All of these examples show the lines between aesthetics and real health benefits can blur when examining plastic surgery procedures.

Rhinoplasty, or nose jobs have health benefits beyond the aesthetic appeals of the procedure. In many cases, rhinoplasty can substantially improve breathing difficulties. In cases where people have broken their nose, the cartilage can become constricted, creating breathing problems. Rhinoplasty can alleviate this, along with snoring problems associated with constricted nasal passages. Many people who have persistent sinus problems have remedied the issue with rhinoplasty.

Face lifts have long been considered a purely cosmetic procedure for people to fight the effects of aging. However, evidence shows that face lifts actually can have health benefits. A study performed at the Mayo clinic reviewed data from 250 women who had undergone face lifts in the "70s. The data showed that on average, women who received face lifts outlived their counterparts in the general population by 10 years. The self esteem factors attributed to looking and feeling younger as a result of the face lift are cited as possible reasons why these patients lived longer.

Eyelid surgery known as blepharoplasty is a procedure to remove fat--usually along with excess skin and muscle from the upper and lower eyelids. While the procedure does have cosmetic benefits, it can also provide real health benefits to those who have vision problems caused by excess skin around the eyelids.

Gastric Bypass surgery, while not often considered "cosmetic surgery can be viewed as a surgery to improve appearances. Like liposuction, it reduces an individual's weight through surgical means. However, the health benefits of losing weight and maintaining a healthy weight are well documented and accepted. Losing weight is a perfect example of how health benefits and aesthetic benefits can both result from the same surgical procedures.

Most who have significant dental problems will view fixing those problems as a mandatory concern. Braces were once considered strange, but now are commonplace. People who lose teeth in accidents don't think twice about the vanity associated with replacing those teeth. Indeed, they argue that replacing broken or lost teeth is necessary for healthy eating function, as well as restoring appearance. Improving speech through dentistry has been long accepted for its benefits, and without the taboos associated with many cosmetic surgery procedures.

Cosmetic surgery is not just for vain people who want to improve their aesthetic appeal. In many cases, the real benefits of cosmetic surgery make the aesthetic improvements just an added bonus when compared to the health benefits the procedures can provide. As cosmetic surgery becomes more common, the lines between purely cosmetic and self esteem benefits and real measurable health benefits will increasingly blur. As the health benefits of cosmetic surgery become more apparent and documented, the acceptance of the procedures by the public at large will continue to climb.


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