Plastic Surgery's Physical & Emotional Scars
Either Heidi Montag has matured, or she's back for more limelight. Whatever her motivation, the TV star is sharing an important message: she regrets all ten of her plastic surgery procedures.
Heidi confessed to Life & Style: "I would love to not be 'plastic girl' or whatever they call me. Surgery ruined my career and my personal life and just brought a lot of negativity into my world. I wish I could jump into a time machine and take it all back. Instead, I'm always going to feel like Edward Scissorhands." Now there's an image.
In November 2009, at the age of 23, Heidi underwent the following procedures: Botox injections, lip injections, brow lift, nose job, breast augmentation, ear pinning and liposuction... all in the same day.
And, of course, all that surgery left a trail of scarring and other physical consequences. Life & Style reports that she currently has lumps on her legs, butt and lower back from lipo, scars under her chin, two small bald spots and a jagged line from ear-pinning.
We're sad for Heidi that she's filled with regret, but have to question the appropriateness of the motivations and expectations of anyone who would get that many procedures at such a young age. According to our expert, Atherton, CA plastic and reconstructive surgeon Dr. Jane Weston, "Patients who are good candidates for any elective intervention are patients with realistic expectations of the results of the procedure(s) under consideration, who understand the pros and cons of the procedures they are considering and who are not being pushed toward surgery by others. Patients who think surgery will dramatically change their lives (or re-vitalize their careers) are often setting themselves up for disappointment."
If you're thoughtfully considering plastic surgery, you might be wondering if you could expect scarring similar to Heidi's. Dr. Weston says, "There is no surgery that makes a cut in the skin that is scar-less. Plastic surgeons have been trained to hide scars wherever possible and to minimize scarring with meticulous technique. There are even techniques available that can change the direction of a scar, which can sometime help camouflage unsightly scars."
But scarring effects differ by area of the body. For example, Dr. Weston says surgeons can hide scars from brow lifts and the majority of scars from facelifts, neck lifts, ostoplasties (ear pinning), and blepharoplasties (eyelid surgery). However, she explains, "Surgeries on more exposed areas are much more likely to result in visible scars, which serves as a deterrent to some patients. With tummy tucks (abdominoplasties), there is usually a long, gently curved scar at the lower end of the abdomen that extends from hip to hip. Breast reduction and breast lift surgeries usually result in multiple scars. The quality of the scars may be influenced by a variety of factors and varies from patient to patient."
But Dr. Weston reminds us that "with the availability of effective non-invasive procedures, it is becoming more and more possible to achieve significant improvement in areas that were once thought to only respond to surgical intervention. Botox, fillers, Sculptra, light-based and radio-frequency based treatments can tighten and smooth skin without leaving scars."
Elective plastic surgery can be a wonderful option. But if you want to avoid emotional scars like Heidi's (not to mention physical ones), you've got to really do your research, and think through what (or who!) is influencing you.