Cosmetic surgery is seen as a way to enhance or fix the physical aspects of ourselves we don't like
Unfortunately an Australian study has highlighted that many women undergoing surgery do so without knowing what to expect or understanding the risks.
The Australian study by health sociologist Rhian Parker from The Australian National University, has written "Women, Doctors and Cosmetic Surgery: Negotiating the 'normal' body". Dr. Parker interviewed 32 Australian women that had undergone a cosmetic procedure and 19 medical practitioners performing the procedures.
From the interviews, it emerged that there are 3 reasons that women choose to undergo cosmetic surgery:
1. A body feature they have been bothered about for a long time e.g. small breast size or a large nose
2. Changes that have happened over time or due to an event e.g. a stretched stomach after childbirth
3. Aging - women perceiving they look older than they feel
When approaching Doctors about cosmetic surgery, the study revealed that women generally don't know what the surgery entails and therefore they don't know what questions to ask. Many women are also embarrassed by their choice to undergo surgery and so keep it a secret thereby missing out on emotional and practical support throughout the process. Ironically, the research has also shown that Doctors are not understanding why women are there. Dr. Parker noted that previous research identified that men prefer larger breasts than women.
In Australia we have a situation where most of the Doctors performing cosmetic procedures are men and most of the patients are women and so unfortunately the end result is that there are now lots of women with larger implants than they originally wanted, for example, a women goes in asking for a C-cup and comes out with a D-cup. And so now in their perception instead of standing out because they have small breasts, they stand out because their breast are large. In most cases, women don't want to look like movie stars or like another person, they want to look like better versions of themselves.
The author Dr. Parker says the study has wide ranging implications. The first issue is that we need to actually find out how many women are undergoing cosmetic procedures annually as currently there is no way of tracking this information. The second key point Dr. Parker identified is the need for quality control measures throughout the industry. Also, and very importantly, that there needs to be unbiased education and information available to women undergoing cosmetic surgery procedures so they know how to make good choices and what questions to ask before they have a procedure. Finally a comprehensive list of complaints needs to be gathered Australia-wide so that the magnitude of the issues associated with these kinds of procedures can be identified.
Rumors have it that one of the key reasons for sky-high insurance premiums is the large number of dissatisfied patients following cosmetic surgery. There is a lack of regulation, education and a great deal of secrecy in this industry. As a result the entire medical industry is suffering financially and women are personally suffering.
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