Can plastic surgery look natural?

OP. DR. YUNUS DOĞAN

Vanity disguised as sanity

Many patients seeking out plastic surgery want to improve their appearance but remain relatively natural. Worldwide media is flooded with negativity; people see memes and sensationalized stories about surgeries with extreme outcomes and fear their surgeries will end the same way. In this post, we will define what natural plastic surgery results actually mean and why those results are important. We will examine how often plastic surgery ends in various levels of disaster.

What are natural results?

Plastic surgery itself is a subjective event; often patients’ opinions of themselves leads them to seek out a surgeon to improve a physical aspect. Maybe a patient wants his/her nose to look more like a certain celebrity’s. A post-bariatric patient wants to have excess skin removed after finally winning his/her battle with obesity. A middle-aged mother with diastasis recti has done millions of crunches but can’t close the gap in her stomach muscles.

For these reasons and countless others, we explore plastic surgery, specifically 360 degree liposuction, BBL (Brazilian butt lift,) breast augmentation and breast reduction. The doctor’s opinion becomes involved at this point. For the sake of objectivity, this post will define “natural” as an appearance that does not make others question whether the patient underwent plastic surgery.

Why is a natural appearance important?

A majority of plastic surgery patients want to improve their appearance without looking overdone. Women whose genetics left them lacking breast volume may want bigger breasts without looking like porn stars. Patients seeking out a Brazilian butt lift (BBL) have an idea of a nice round rump without packing too much junk in the trunk. Keep in mind, realistic results come from realistic requests and expectations. Rhinoplasty patients may want a carefully sculpted nose, unlike what the late, great Michael Jackson had.

Not all patients want to physically broadcast that they have had work done. In the case where a patient has poor self-esteem surrounding a particular body area, the act of suddenly correcting that area in a brazen way may hinder rather than help the problem. Drawing attention to a problem area, be it positive or negative, can be embarrassing or awkward.

Some patients lack supportive friends, family or coworkers. The fear of being judged or shamed is a motivator for maintaining a natural appearance while secretly improving it. Patients may also face serious scrutiny under religious or other social and cultural discouragement. Discretion is paramount.

Popular cosmetic surgery website RealSelf published their 2023 Culture Report, which discusses viewpoints and assumptions about plastic surgery. They give some insight as to what may motivate patients to prefer natural appearances. Ultimately, patients want to look like a better version of themselves without any drastic change. They want to feel improved while avoiding negative reactions.

How often does unrealistic plastic surgery happen?

In short, a majority of plastic surgeries end very well for the average patient. Patients who present with realistic expectations, have found a qualified doctor they trust and are able to communicate freely about their expectations and concerns limp or walk away happily!

According to a study by the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS,) there was a 44% increase in botched cosmetic procedures around the world in 2022. This increase can be attributed to inadequate training and poor communication between the patients and surgeons. Harley Clinic has more information about this study and more here.

Can plastic surgery look natural?

Absolutely. And it usually does. If you’re considering plastic surgery but are afraid of extremely unnatural results, remember that the super-plastic-unrealistic-busty-and-superfluous cases are few and far between. Often, those patients have most likely requested impractical improvements. Their goals are lofty and unachievable. These patients can be repeat customers in terms of requesting revisions of the same surgery when their sky-high expectations aren’t met.

Often the root cause of flubbed results is the doctor, having suggested lofty solutions or exaggerated professional capabilities. Some doctors and clinics are only in the business to make money and will tell you what you want to hear. This problem exists in the medical tourism field, where patients are only near the clinic temporarily. Doctors perform sub-standard work and ship the patients back home.

And some doctors genuinely want to please their patients, even if their skill set is limited. These professionals may have the best intentions but haven’t developed themselves mechanically to be proficient enough to deliver the right results. Intentions are high but surgical intelligence is low.

The last stitch

We know plastic surgery can end in undesirable results because those results are easily seen on the internet and social media platforms. And they are more likely to be broadcast and repeatedly publicized. The number of patients with natural results are unnoticed because their results are not so apparent. You can increase your chance of a successful and natural-looking surgery if you read our “How to Get Natural Plastic Surgery Enhancements” post.

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