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Can plastic surgery become addictive?

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

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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.