Many people are quick to judge those who seek out reconstructive or plastic surgery as vain or shallow individuals who are overly conscientious of their own appearance, even to the point of accessorizing their own body to better their status in the eyes of society. Breast implants, liposuction, lip injections…all of these procedures and others are what many consider superfluous and unnecessary, some of them even potentially undercutting and cheapening the efforts of those who seek to better their body and physical health through diet and exercise.
However, there are those methods of plastic and reconstructive surgery that are simply necessary. Some of them are even due to life-saving medical procedures. Young women looking for a bit of normalcy after something as traumatic as a mastectomy to undo the damage (or even potential damage) of breast cancer might be encouraged to seek out surgeons who could perform breast reconstruction. One can hardly consider this a shallow path. Artificial enhancement could perhaps be seen with skepticism, but one can hardly criticize a person for attempting to return to the status quo. Especially not after recovering from a terrible disease.
This is hardly the only circumstance that might justify reconstructive procedures. In recent events, Dr. David Dao was forcefully removed from a United Airlines flight that had apparently been overbooked. Barring speculation on the reasons for his removal, Dr. Dao suffered what many would call unnecessary injury to the extent that he would require reconstructive surgery himself. Dr. Dao sustained injuries that apparently left him with a broken nose, two teeth that were knocked out and sinus issues that, according to his lawyer, might require reconstructive surgery.
The unfortunate reality is that reconstructive and plastic procedures are hardly limited to those with ideals of the physical body, namely their own. Sometimes, they act as a gateway for people to hide their literal scars from terrible physical trauma. People who were once assault victims often talk about the emotional scars that were left from such experiences, but it’s almost impossible to ignore the obvious effects from physical brutality. Disfigured faces, sometimes even dismemberment, make walking among society a torturous task for victims who should have no reason to be ashamed of something that they suffered through no fault of their own. Yet carrying the shame of their appearance can cause them to resort to such transformative methods.
This article isn’t an attempt to shame anyone who might look down upon such procedures, whether they be a supplement to a person’s physical appearance or a necessity to restore it to as close to normal as possible. It is certainly not an attempt to shame anyone who has undergone such procedures either, regardless of whichever of the aforementioned reasons are chosen, or even others not mentioned at all. Perhaps this article will simply serve as a reminder that no one ever truly knows the entire story of any other person’s life. Perhaps this will play down the stigma of physical reconstruction, even if just a little. And along with it, the stigma of judging people based solely upon appearances. So, if you happen to need reconstructive surgery (or even just want it), the last thing you should do is let society’s opinion stand in your way.