Health Watch -- Makeover Madness

Health Watch is a Public Service of the Office of News and Publications and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.

Do all those makeover "reality" shows have anything to do with the reality of plastic surgery?

Makeover shows have become popular television fare as viewers tune in to see ordinary people made over into glamorous beauty queens or celebrity look-alikes through extensive plastic surgery. That entertainment trend seems to be spilling over into real life, as more than 1.3 million American men and women are having plastic surgery each year.

That's a lot of face-lifts, liposuctions, breast enhancements and nose reshapings. Plastic surgeons at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas warn that while the results of plastic surgery may look glamorous, cosmetic surgery is an invasive procedure that carries the same risks as any other kind of surgery.

Remember that the television shows you're watching are edited to create more drama and to fit a one-hour slot. In real life, multiple cosmetic surgery procedures aren't likely to be done during one visit to the doctor, and this kind of surgery often requires a long recovery period. In other words, don't expect to enter the doctor's office as an ugly duckling and leave looking like a swan.

Dr. Rod Rohrich, chairman of plastic surgery at UT Southwestern, says you need to do your homework about cosmetic surgery. He says too many women spend more time shopping for shoes than they do shopping for the right plastic surgeon. Find a surgeon who is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgeons. Make sure you understand the procedures you're having done so you'll have realistic expectations of the risks and results.


Aug. 2004

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