Life from under the knife

Life from under the knife

India is one of the top five markets for cosmetic and aesthetic surgeries. The last five years have witnessed tremendous scientific advancements in...

An increasing number of youngsters are opting for correctional surgeries in order to enhace their self images

India is one of the top five markets for cosmetic and aesthetic surgeries. The last five years have witnessed tremendous scientific advancements in this field. With increased awareness and knowledge of such procedures, several patients, especially youngsters are opting for corrective surgeries to deal with their deformities or in some cases to enhance their appearances and boost their self confidence.

From rhinoplasty, liposuction to chemical bleaching, there are procedures to rectify every possible issue. But what intrigues psychologists and parents alike is the affect the surgeries or merely options for corrections have on today’s youth. It goes without saying that procedures to correct a crooked nose or slash the unnecessary oodles of fat from a heavy person have immensely helped increase confidence levels.

But while cosmetologists and plastic surgeons regard these procedures as boons that only need to be exercised with caution, psychiatrists believe that increasingly poor body images have led to this trend. Dr Kiran Kumar, dermatologist, cosmetologist and trichologist from Hyderabad, on an average treats about 20 patients per month, all between the age groups of 18 to 30. While he believes that many people with genuine deformities have regained their confidence after these surgeries, he adds that a few youngsters albeit have unrealistic expectations from these procedures.

“We try to counsel them and help them understand that some corrections are not possible or are not necessary. We try to speak to them when we believe they are pushing their limits. But otherwise, I think technology has only come to aid them”, he says. Several acid attack and accident victims have been able to minimise the damage done to them by unfortunate incidents. Dr Sreenivas, a practising psychiatrist at KIMS, however asserts that there are serious psychological issues underlying the apparent need to address physical deformities.

“Some people suffer from what is called a Body Dysmorphic Disorder. It is a deep rooted feeling in them that they are not good looking even if they are absolutely normal. A corrective surgery or enhancement in this case is not going to better their self image. There have been cases where people have filed complaints against their surgeons even after successful procedures. They do not focus on the negative body image they have in their minds”, he rues.

He also adds that the present fashion and film industry promotes unrealistic body images and complexion benchmarks. “Even if they have an absolutely normal face, they find something or the other wrong because we all are sold the unrealistic idea of perfection”, he says, adding that even small children are given toys like Barbies and Gi Joes, that have unattainable body proportions.

“My teenage daughter insists on a complexion enhancement procedure. She is an admirer of an actress who is extremely fair and wants to have the same skin as her idol’s. I have tried my best to tell her that she does not have that skin type and that she should be content with her own. We haven’t ofcourse allowed her to undergo any treatment but we are scared that she might develop long lasting insecurities.”, says a worried mother.

Whether it is the need to match up to unrealistic standards or eliminate scars and deformations resulting from an accident, the youth has innumerable solutions to problems, some believe, they may not even have. Experts believe that people should not only have access to advanced technology that can help deal with their insecurities but should also have a reality check and improve their self esteem rather than opt for surface level corrections.

By:Mythili Sankara

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