Do Plastic Surgeons Go Under the Knife?

Does whether your plastic surgeon had work done or not influence your opinion of that surgeon? Are you more likely to listen to a surgeon that’s been through it him or herself? These are good questions, and that’s why it’s worth having a discussion about whether plastic surgeons tend to undergo plastic surgery on themselves.

Plastic surgeons have a reputation for looking good. In some ways, it’s part of their job. But has your plastic surgeon had work done? In fact, how often do surgeons partake in their own services? It’s a good question, and one that might provide some insight into how your surgeon feels about his or her own services.

How to Know if Your Plastic Surgeon Has Had Work Done

That said, there are all kinds of reasons why one might not undergo plastic surgery. This isn’t a situation where I’m telling you something like “Don’t trust a bald barber.” (I never liked that saying—there are plenty of excellent bald barbers.)

Instead, we’re simply digging into an interesting little piece of lore. We’re exploring a myth. Plastic surgeons have long had a reputation for going under the knife—of getting more plastic surgery than their patients. But how true is this? Has your plastic surgeon had work done? And what does that say about him or her?

How Many Surgeons Have Undergone Surgery?

There are so many types of surgeons out there—people who specialize in all kinds of different things. There are surgeons who specialize in emergency medicine, surgeons who specialize in foot surgery, surgeons who specialize in brain surgery, and so on. Unless a very specific set of circumstances occurs, however, most of those surgeons will never become patients of their own type of surgery.

But plastic surgery is different. Plastic surgery is elective. It’s one of the relatively few types of surgeries you can decide to do at your leisure. That’s why we’re being pretty selective about plastic surgeons. They’re one of the few surgeons out there who can think, “Yeah, this is a good idea, I should have this surgery.”

Plastic Surgery Statistics

And it turns out that many of them have. Typically, plastic surgery appeals to relatively small part of the population—and only a narrow percentage of all people end up going under the knife. The Pew Research Center, famous for compiling statistics on all sorts of things, published results that indicate only about 4% of Americans have undergone plastic surgery of some kind (that’s still a lot of people, in an absolute sense).

According to recent surveys published in the Journal of Plastic Reconstructive Surgery, roughly one third of all plastic surgeons have undergone surgery.

Surgeons and Cosmetic Procedures

Of course, that number covers only surgical procedures—facelift, liposuction, that kind of thing. The number goes up significantly when you start talking about cosmetic procedures (which itself fits under the umbrella of cosmetic surgery). This includes procedures such as Botox or Juvederm injections or even laser treatments.

When you ask surgeons about these types of procedures, it turns out that almost two-thirds of them have undergone procedures as these (the precise number is 62%). Now, there are plenty of reasons for this:

  • Cosmetic procedures often do not require recovery time
  • There is often no interruption to one’s work schedule
  • Results often appear quite quickly (in some cases, immediately)
  • Results are also temporary
  • Non surgical procedures tend to be much less expensive (at least in the short term)

Perhaps not surprisingly, all of these reasons are among the benefits that everyone gets out of cosmetic procedures. In other words, what makes these procedures popular for surgeons is what makes them popular for everyone else! (Indeed, many more Americans undergo cosmetic procedures every year than plastic surgery ones.)

Popular But Not Necessary

There are plenty of plastic surgeons out there who have undergone one procedure or another. Sometimes those procedures are non invasive. Other times we’re talking about plastic surgery. Everything will depend on the individual surgeon.

And that makes sense. That’s how we do things for everyone else. Why should plastic surgeons be any different? That said, it’s not uncommon to see a plastic surgeon who has had work done. And that’s okay, too!

What I’m getting at is that you shouldn’t be dissuaded from selecting a plastic surgeon one way or the other. There are, in fact, criteria that are much more important than your surgeon’s elective surgery history. In fact, you should probably be more concerned about:

  • Board certification (or, at the very least, the experience of the surgeon in question)
  • Before and after photos
  • Patient referrals and reviews
  • Your own personal rapport with the surgeon

Some Extra Empathy? Maybe

That said, it’s true that some plastic surgeons who have had work done might be a little more empathetic during your recovery and recuperation. But I wouldn’t necessarily bet on it. Doctors of all kinds tend to be an empathetic bunch, and a history of plastic or cosmetic surgery doesn’t necessarily guarantee anything.

You’re better off trusting your gut. Has your plastic surgeon had work done? Quite possible. Does it matter? Usually not.

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