What Compels Women to Go Under the Knife? Is it a Quest for Beauty or Self-Esteem?

The American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) report that over the past year cosmetic surgical procedures have continued to grow. The number of surgical procedures and minimally invasive procedures was 15.9 million in the United States last year. Currently, this number has increased by 2 percent since 2014. However, since 2000, the number of procedures has grown as much as 115 percent.
However, the real question before us today is “Why do more and more women choose to go under the knife.”

Breast Augmentation

It all started 50 years ago when Timmie Jean Lindsey at the age of 30 was the first person to go under the knife in order to implant silicone into her breast changing her B-cuts to C.

The implants that Timmie Jean Lindsey received were actually made with Poly Implant Prothese (PIP) better known as industrial mattress filling. Even though 8 women who had these PIP implants developed cancer, authorities claimed the implants were not the cause. However, women have developed a fear of the implants leaking since the rate of their rupturing is 5 percent compared to the normal implant rupture rate of one to two percent.

In spite of the problems of the PIP breast implants having become known in 1962, the breast augmentation surgery has continued to be popular. For instance, as many as 10,000 women in the UK have undergone breast-implant, surgical procedures each year.

The number of women receiving breast implants continued to rise in spite of the following:
• A silicone scare in the US in 1992 led to UK women opting for saline implants.
• In 2000, 5,000 women in the UK were advised to have soya oil-filled implants known as Trilucent removed because they were believed to be toxic.
• The surgery posed risks of infection, nipple numbness, breast pain, leakage, breakage and necrosis or skin death.

Yet, it didn’t take long for the market to bounce back. Between 2002 and 2007, the number of women opting for implants rose a huge 275%. In addition, there was a 10% increase in breast augmentations in 2010 making it the most popular of all cosmetic procedures.

Now, we might ask ourselves, “Why do we do it?” Naturally, for women who have had cancer surgery, it is understandable that these types of operations are totally necessary after a mastectomy. However, why do the 90% of women who have these breast augmentation procedures done for cosmetic reasons do it?

Other Women’s Cosmetic Surgical Procedures

Plastic surgery research found that besides the 305,856 breast-augmentation surgery procedures of women in America, cosmetic surgical procedures of women in 2015 included the following:

• Liposuction totaling 396,048 procedures
• Tummy Tuck totaling 180, 717 procedures
• Eyelid Surgery totaling 169,708 procedures
• Breast Lifts totaling 148,967 procedures

Women’s External Motivations for Cosmetic Surgery

Getting back to the big question, “Why do we do it?” Of all the external motivations for cosmetic surgery, pleasing or being attractive to the opposite sex is most likely the number one motivation. A study conducted by Aberdeen University found that 25% if women who have cosmetic surgery do it to be more attractive to their partners. As women, we know that men treat women with big breasts differently. For instance, a study conducted by Cornell University found that waitresses with bigger breasts got bigger tips.

A primary reason a woman undergoes cosmetic surgery is to reverse the signs of aging. This is often the case for middle-aged women who want to give their career a boost. By reversing the signs of aging, they believe they can fit in better with a younger workforce. Unlike men, women have cosmetic surgery to maintain their appearance and by so doing look younger. For instance, Blepharoplasty surgery corrects the bagginess of both the upper and lower eyelids. The result is younger looking eyes that appear fresh, wide-open and youthful. Facelifts are another way for a woman to appear younger. After having this procedure, one woman commented, “Even though I was 60 years old, I felt 30 and wanted my appearance to reflect that.”

Even millennials may want to have cosmetic surgery to give their careers a boost. For example, models, singers or actors may want to change their bodies to look more attractive or in some cases even younger.

Women’s Internal Motivations for Cosmetic Surgery

To boost our self-esteem is probably the strongest internal motivation to undergo cosmetic surgery. We simply want to look perfect. Hard work won’t enlarge our breasts or change the shape of our noses. The only way this can be done is through cosmetic surgery, and now-a-days the cost is affordable. So, why not?

Furthermore, research done at the University of Perugia in Italy, found that after having breast augmentation surgery, women were more confident, stood up straighter and their body image had improved.

In Conclusion

The reasons motivating a woman to undergo cosmetic surgery are varied. They may be to be more attractive, look younger, give their career a boost, or to build self-esteem. Whatever the reason or type of procedure, you certainly want to have one of the best plastic surgeons around.

About the author

Alex Pejak is a health blogger currently working on a few projects in Australia, including one for Acoustic Hearing Clinics. She is also interested in topics related to well-being and natural healthcare.