8 Myths About Cosmetic Surgery

Doctor William C Lloyd Healthgrades Medical Reviewer
Medically Reviewed By William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS
Written By Chris Illiades, MD on November 6, 2020
  • Woman prepped for plastic surgery
    Cosmetic Surgery Facts to Debunk the Myths
    If you’ve been thinking about cosmetic surgery, you’re not alone. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, in 2019, doctors performed more than 18.1 million surgical and nonsurgical cosmetic procedures (1.8 million cosmetic surgical procedures and 16.3 cosmetic minimally invasive procedures). Popular surgical cosmetic procedures are liposuction and breast augmentation. Popular nonsurgical cosmetic procedures are Botox® injections, dermal fillers, and laser hair removal. Here's the facts to help you decide if cosmetic surgery is right for you.
  • Cosmetic markup
    Myth 1: Plastic surgery is the same as cosmetic surgery.
    The field of plastic surgery includes cosmetic surgery, but they are not the same thing. Plastic surgery also includes reconstructive surgery. Cosmetic surgery is only about making you look better. Reconstructive surgery has the additional purpose of repairing a birth defect or damage from trauma or disease. Reconstructing a breast after breast cancer surgery is plastic surgery. Making your breasts bigger is cosmetic surgery. Insurance, typically, only pays for reconstructive surgery.
  • Woman examined during cosmetic consultation
    Myth 2: Surgeons who do cosmetic surgery need to be cosmetic surgery specialists.
    Many types of specialists perform cosmetic surgery, including plastic surgeons, ophthalmologists, dermatologists, and ear, nose and throat doctors (otolaryngologists). But doctors aren’t required to have an official certification in cosmetic surgery to perform it. Because of this, be sure to find a doctor who is certified to perform cosmetic surgery. Also ask what experience he or she has in cosmetic surgery. The American Board of Plastic Surgery and the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery are good certifications to look for.
  • Male friends
    Myth 3: Cosmetic surgery is only for women.
    It’s true women have the majority of cosmetic surgeries. But more men are choosing these procedures too. In 2019, more than 1 million procedures were made on men. That's nearly triple the number done in 1997. The top five surgical cosmetic procedures for men are liposuction, eyelid surgery, nose jobs (rhinoplasty), breast reductions, and tummy tuck.
  • Woman choosing breast implants
    Myth 4: Breast implants increase your risk of breast cancer.
    According to the Institute of Medicine, there is no evidence that breast implants, including silicone breast implants, cause breast cancer or any other disease. However, you should continue to have routine screenings for breast cancer, just as you would without implants. While breast implants are considered safe, they do come with risks. Be sure to check your breasts often after getting implants. See a doctor right away if you suspect a problem.
  • Breast Reduction
    Myth 5: Cosmetic breast surgery is only for women.
    Surgery to reduce the size of male breasts is a common cosmetic procedure. Extra growth of male breasts can occur at any age. It can make men feel uncomfortable. Some medications can cause this. So can obesity. It also tends to run in families. Breast reduction surgery may be the answer if weight loss does not help.
  • Woman measuring waist with tape measrure
    Myth 6: Liposuction helps you lose weight and cellulite.
    Liposuction is not a weight loss procedure. In fact, your surgeon will probably ask you to lose weight before having liposuction. Also, liposuction does not get rid of cellulite. Fiber-like tissues in the layer of skin above fat cells cause cellulite. Liposuction removes the fat cells. But, this can actually make cellulite look worse. Liposuction works best if you are within 30% of your ideal weight and have good muscle tone.
  • female patient looking at eye in handheld mirror
    Myth 7: Cosmetic surgery is mostly for its anti-aging effects.
    Many cosmetic procedures are done to combat signs of aging, like wrinkling and sagging. Still, people younger than 50 have more than 60% of cosmetic procedures. Only 10% are done in people older than 65. The most common procedure for people 35 to 50 is liposuction. For most people, cosmetic surgery is as much about looking better as it is about looking younger.
  • Concentrated doctor listening to patient
    Myth 8: Most people who seek cosmetic surgery have psychological issues.
    There was a time when many mental health professionals thought people who wanted cosmetic surgery had psychiatric issues. Now, though, lots of studies have shown people who choose cosmetic surgery for the right reasons usually feel better about themselves. They also often have a better quality of life. If you are healthy, positive and have realistic expectations, cosmetic surgery could make sense for you.
8 Myths About Cosmetic Surgery | Cosmetic Surgery Facts

About The Author

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  2. Aesthetic Plastic Surgery National Statistics Databank 2019. American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. https://www.surgery.org/sites/default/files/Aesthetic-Society_Stats2019Book_FINAL.pdf
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  4. Cosmetic Surgery VS. Plastic Surgery. American Board of Cosmetic Surgery. http://www.americanboardcosmeticsurgery.org/patient-resources/cosmetic-surgery-vs-plastic-surgery/ 
  5. Specialties & Subspecialties. American Board of Medical Specialties. http://www.abms.org/who_we_help/physicians/specialties.aspx
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  7. Breast augmentation risks and safety. American Society of Plastic Surgeons. http://www.plasticsurgery.org/cosmetic-procedures/breast-augmentation.html?sub=Breast+augmentation+r...
  8. What is gynecomastia? American Society of Plastic Surgeons. http://www.plasticsurgery.org/cosmetic-procedures/gynecomastia-surgery.html#content
  9. Liposuction candidates. American Society of Plastic Surgeons. http://www.plasticsurgery.org/cosmetic-procedures/liposuction.html?sub=Liposuction+candidates#conten... 
  10. Plastic surgery: Beauty or beast? American Psychological Association. http://www.apa.org/monitor/sep05/surgery.aspx
  11. Cosmetic Procedures. American Society of Plastic Surgeons. http://www.plasticsurgery.org/cosmetic-procedures.html
  12. Risks of breast Implants. Food and Drug Administration. http://www.fda.gov/medicaldevices/productsandmedicalprocedures/implantsandprosthetics/breastimplants...
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Last Review Date: 2020 Nov 6
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