Let's Talk Plastic Surgery: The Pros and Dangers

From botched butt lifts to procedures that are no longer legal.
Publish date:
October 15, 2015
plastic surgery, dermatologists, horror stories, plastic surgeons, Beauty Procedures

The press releases I receive run the gamut, ranging from NYFW nail trends to weird spa treatments to new beauty products to plastic surgeries that promise you the world. Recent email subject lines include:

We clearly-for better or for worse-live in world where we're essentially able to change anything about our physical appearance (as long as we have enough money) with a little nipping, dying, injecting and sculpting.

My personal stance is that all is fair in nip and tuck in terms of what a person wants to do with their body. Seriously, I fully believe everyone should govern their own body, and props to you for whatever decisions you make. With that said, there's always going to be some sort of risk involved.

When Procedures Get Botched

    One recent press release I received came from NYC plastic surgeon Dr. Matthew Schulman, who cited an ongoing trend in the United States of Americans opting for cheaper, and unprofessional, plastic surgeries. You know-the ol' "Get the Hollywood looks without the Hollywood prices" bit. He shared a story about a recent client, a 27-year-old woman, who came to him with a botched Brazilian butt lift, the result of a visit to an unlicensed professional offering the procedure at very low price.

I also recently spent some time at PiMA Dermatology in Tucson, Ariz., where I spoke with Dr. Gerald Goldberg, founder and owner of PiMA, and President of the Arizona Dermatology and Dermatologic Surgery Society. I went to look at some of the new devices and treatments the center offered, which are quite revolutionary (and perhaps fitting for a later post). However, one of my primary takeaways was Dr. Goldberg's tales of the many people who came into his office after their own botched procedures, completed at spas without appropriate medical oversight.

Obviously, there's an issue with in-depth procedures being completed by ill-equipped people on trusting clientele. This is an issue in and of itself, and could probably use more attention in the media.

Procedures Made Illegal

Another interesting issue to think about: procedures that were once deemed legit but have since been banned. I asked for a list of some more notable procedures from NYC-based Dr. Jennifer Levine, a highly rated facial surgery plastic surgeon at RealSelf.com (and an excellent resource, by the way, if you're considering any plastic surgery or beauty procedure).

Here's what she shared with me:

  • Closed Thread Lift: There were class-action lawsuits involved with this procedure, and it is now no longer able to be performed as a minimally invasive technique. It is dangerous because threads can pop, and the results are often not consistent. Today, physicians can use threads only during an open technique. An example of this would be performing a traditional face lift.
  • Mesotherapy: The materials used for this procedure were unregulated. Some of the chemicals were unidentified and therefore could be unstable. Potential risks were redness, swelling and necrosis.
  • Certain Implants: For example, polypropylene, or "string," breast implants, which cause the breasts to grow at an unpredictable (and potentially uneven) rate indefinitely.
  • Permanent Fillers: Unstable and can cause a negative reaction or infection, even deformity. The filler can migrate to other areas of the body, as well. Dr. Levine once had a patient that had permanent fillers done and came in due to severe facial swelling, almost causing eye closure. The patient was treated for a bacterial infection.

It all kind of makes you wonder what currently accepted procedures could be nixed in the future, and whether you could, unknowingly, walk into a dangerous situation.

My point with all of this isn't to scare, but instead to start a conversation on a topic I find incredibly interesting. So let's talk.

  • Would you consider having a beauty procedure done (minor or major, invasive or non-invasive)?
  • Have you ever had a procedure go wrong? Do you know of anyone who's experienced this?
  • Have you ever had a procedure and absolutely loved the results? How did you go about researching, and how did you come to the decision to have the procedure?