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Can plastic surgery become addictive?

Anthony S. Youn, MD
Plastic Surgery
Plastic surgery can definitely become addictive; it's the job of the plastic surgeon and the patient to make sound decisions together. Watch plastic surgeon Anthony Youn, MD, discuss the red flags that could point to a plastic surgery addiction.
Tara Whitworth
Nursing
Plastic surgery certainly has the potential to become addictive. That is why it is important to realize that up front and to make a plan. Set goals and be realistic. Think about what you want to accomplish through plastic surgery and take your time making decisions. If you are afraid you might become addicted, confide in someone you trust and ask them to hold you accountable to your plan.
Stuart A. Linder, MD
Plastic Surgery
Without a question plastic surgery can become addictive to patients. It is extraordinarily important that a plastic surgeon act as not only a surgeon but also as a psychotherapist in understanding the entire both psychological as well as emotional desires of the patient. We prescreen all of our patients during the initial consultation.

Patients need to have realistic expectations otherwise disappointment can be severe. In general in our practice patients will undergo specific procedures that we consider to be appropriate for them. For example, patients who have saddlebags along the lateral thighs will do well with tumescent liposuction especially if they have tried diet and exercise and the fat cannot be removed through non surgical intervention.

Patients who have smaller breasts who desire to have a more proportionate size will do well with augmentation mammoplasty procedures as will the patient who has had multiple births and has abdominal wall skin laxity and although has worked out cannot remove it. Those patients do extraordinarily well with an abdominoplasty procedure or tummy tuck. In my practice I am very careful to identify patients who are addicted to plastic surgery. These can be patients who have had serious lifestyle changes such as death in the family, or have been divorced recently. These patients often want to completely change their appearance in order to transform their lives.

I am extremely careful with patients who want multiple procedures done over a short period of time. Although we do perform Mommy Makeover procedures we insist that patients wait a reasonable period of time between surgical staged procedures so that they may think about the operation that they will be undergoing and that we know that their consent will be an informed one and a realistic one.

On television these days as well as throughout the tabloid magazines we see celebrities who have undergone multiple surgical procedures. I don't believe that these are good role models whatsoever for women throughout the United States, especially young ones. Again, it is our duty as board certified plastic surgeons to help improve the self esteem of our patients in a reasonable fashion to help create normal appearance and not to make the patients look disproportionate nor bizarre especially with facial plastic surgical procedures
Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine
We've all seen pictures of them; they're people who treat cosmetic surgeries like they're massages. The more they have, the better they claim to feel. Any way you slice it, these people have more plastic than an in-debt college student.

Yes, it's tempting to have additional procedures, but plastic surgery can be as addictive as any drug. The sign that you're in a constant quest for -- watch my fingers making quote marks in the air -- "perfection" is that you're planning your next surgery as soon as you're finished the one before it.

So, yes, find your trouble spots and decide what will make you happy. Then pick an endpoint where you want your body to be, and deal with the reality of what you're going to look like when you get there. Look in the mirror, tell yourself what changes would give you satisfaction and then stop. If you can't stop -- if you're constantly considering lipo-ing this, or tucking that -- then it's not your skin you need checked. It's your head.

Bottom line: Before deciding on a procedure, you have to accept the fact that you're not seeking perfection; you're seeking improvements in your body and your happiness.
Surgeons Operating on Woman
Brent Moelleken, MD
Plastic Surgery

Plastic surgery can be addictive, so you want to ensure your surgeon is ethical and won't do any unnecessary procedures. Watch plastic surgeon Brent Moelleken, MD, explain why you need to work with a surgeon who is concerned with your best interests.


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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.