Summary: Plastic surgery has a long history of being innovative, of finding new procedures and new techniques, of achieving great results with less invasiveness and less pain. It’s how Clear Lake TX facelift surgery, for example, can have such a short recovery time. But it also has a history of being trendy—or procedures that come and go with certain stylistic of fashionable whims. There’s some merit to this, in that giving the people what they want is part of the mission of plastic surgeons. But there are also times when plastic surgery procedures push the boundaries so far that we have to take a moment and push back—and be more thoughtful about the kinds of procedures we’re signing up for.
The Well Established and The Cutting Edge
There are many well-established plastic surgery procedures. Liposuction has almost always been popular, as has the breast augmentation and procedures such as face lifts and rhinoplasty. These are known on a broad scale. Then there are those procedures that are well known in smaller circles—in circles where plastic surgery is already popular. We’re talking the labiaplasties, blepharoplasties and tummy tucks of the world. These procedures might not be part of the common vernacular, but they’re certainly not unheard of.
But then—then there are the procedures that give even the plastic surgery veteran pause. These are the kind of procedures that straddle the line of ethics, in some cases, and taste in others. They’re cutting edge, but we’re not quite sure they’re cutting edge in a good way. To be sure, plastic surgery is a field that has constantly benefited from experimentation and from pushing the envelope, not only in the results from surgery but also in the field of patient treatment and comfort. However, there are procedures we think could use a little more thought. So, let’s take a look.
The Trouble With Thigh Gap Therapy
The thigh gap has been all the rage since the turn of the century, though it seems to have picked up steam in the last few years. For those of you not in the know, the thigh gap is, essentially, when a woman’s thighs leave a gap—in the shape of a triange—where they meet the pelvis. The worst part of the thigh gap is the notion that it is achievable naturally. Sure, some women are born with the kind of anatomy that makes a thigh gap easy to achieve. But most women are born to put on fat, and the only way to get that thigh gap is through sheer starvation—in extremely unhealthy degrees. The level of obsession, especially among teens, with the thigh gap is also somewhat disturbing.
So we get where these therapies are coming from. You can’t achieve a thigh gap through diet and exercise, so why not achieve it through plastic surgery? And to satisfy that demand, all sorts of new laser devices have been introduced that claim to eliminate that extra layer of fat from around the thighs. Even if these devices work (and we’re not totally convinced that they do), we still question the ethics of this procedure. It’s different from, say, a breast augmentation or a liposuction procedure because it’s perpetuating a particularly dangerous image as both desirable and healthy. That this image is already quite popular among a particularly impressionable audience (teens) should give us further pause.
At the very least, we should at least stop and think about this one.
Cinderella Surgery Could Be Hard on Your Soles
Uncomfortable shoes are uncomfortable for a reason. Undoubtedly, we’ve all had experiences where our shoes make our feet hurt. For women, this is particularly common, as those trendy, fashionable high heeled stilettos are certainly not built for comfort (at least, not at a reasonable price point). For many women, there’s a constant and intense pressure to wear this particular style of shoe, as “flats” are seen as too casual or careless for many occasions. So, style is selected over comfort, often leading to painful bunions (essentially, outcropping of bone caused by your toes being pressed together).
There are some plastic surgeons who offer a kind of bunionectomy, or, sometimes called, a “Cinderella surgery” because they allow the wearer to continue wearing uncomfortable shoes without continuing discomfort. And on the one hand, this seems reasonable. Less pain is good, right? However, it allows for the continued use of the very mechanism that caused the problem.
Look, the shoes you wear are incredibly important—not just the style, but the size and fit. You can cause serious, long term, even permanent damage to your feet by wearing shoes that shoes that constrict blood flow or distort your toes. In other words, by getting a “Cinderella surgery,” you’re simply enabling further damage to your feet. As we said, your feet hurt for a reason and when your dogs start barking, it’s imperative for your health that you start listening.
That doesn’t mean that bunions in and of themselves should not be addressed. Of course they should—but not just so you can go back to wearing the same damaging footwear.
Ball Ironing… For Bros?
So this procedure offers several different types of therapies meant to make the scrotum area look younger and, conceivably, more attractive. Among the possibilities patients can choose from are laser hair removal therapies (which we would imagine use lasers and heat to eliminate hair, just as they would on other parts of the body), removal of so-called “skin tags” and even tightening the skin around the scrotum. We get the appeal—lasers beat shaving. And, honestly, this is the procedure we have the least amount of issues with, especially if they are pursued in a way that is safe and secure.
The real risks of these procedures come in terms of male fertility. Research has shown that sperm and heat don’t necessarily mix well together, so exposing the scrotum to lasers that, basically, eliminate hair follicles using heat and energy is problematic (granted, you can always ask your doctor if the amount of energy involved is anything to worry about). It’s something to definitely keep in mind as you schedule was has become known colloquially as “ball ironing.” (We prefer the term scrotal rejuvenation.) These procedures are available pretty many medical spas, but you’ll want to make sure you choose a reputable establishment. Your children may depend on it.
There Will Always Be New Procedures
As mentioned earlier, one of the strengths of plastic surgery is its ability to innovate and renovate. Plastic surgeons are always looking for ways to improve the experience of patients by giving them excellent, desired results but diminishing pain and recovery length. Unfortunately, sometimes in our drive to give patients what they want, sometimes we need to take a step back and be a little more thoughtful. At the same time, we aren’t anybody’s mom and dad (well, we are…but we aren’t everybody’s mom and dad). So, in the end, and as always, everybody is free to choose the procedure that works best for his or her needs and desires.
But that doesn’t mean that all procedures are created equal and it doesn’t mean that we should take a thoughtful, critical approach to new procedures that suddenly appear. Because while plastic surgery has a long history of being innovative, it can sometimes also be a bit on the trendy side. The best procedures are the ones that buck the trends, the ones that are here to stay. Those are the procedures that provide excellent results for a long period of time. Those are the procedures that produce satisfied, happy patients.