Cosmetic surgery: Think first
Q: I would like to have my tummy tucked, but my best friend disagrees with me. What are your thoughts on this?

A: You are not alone in considering plastic surgery. But you should wisely weigh the pros and cons first.

About 1.9 million of the 11 million cosmetic procedures performed in the United States in 2006 were surgical cosmetic procedures, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.


The top surgical procedures that year included:


1. Breast augmentation


2. Nose surgery


3. Liposuction


4. Eyelid surgery


There are many reasons to choose plastic surgery, ranging from the clinical to the personal. It could be for reconstructive purposes, either because of a birth defect or to repair the result of a trauma or injury. Plastic surgery may be done to slow the aging process or to correct a body feature.

Others have plastic surgery to stay competitive in their jobs or in response to comments about their wrinkles - "You always look tired/ angry."

There is no single right reason to have surgery, but there are many wrong ones, like:

"My husband/wife left me."

New relationships, or failed old ones, are not good reasons to get surgery. Neither is a job loss or a midlife crisis.

"I am depressed, and the surgery will help."

Patients with mental disorders, untreated depression or anxiety should get these conditions treated prior to seeking surgery.

"I've never liked the way I look - I want to look like someone else."

Surgery is to enhance what you have. Patients with a history of multiple surgeries to achieve perfection may be looking for something unattainable.

When making a permanent decision about your health - whether it is a tattoo or a tummy tuck - a little soul-searching goes a long way. Medical procedures should be thoroughly discussed with your doctors. If you feel conflicted, seek additional professional advice.


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(Drs. Kay Judge and Maxine Barish-Wreden are medical directors of Sutter's Downtown Integrative Medicine program. They have written "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Secrets of Longevity" ($18.95, Alpha/Penguin Books). Have a question related to alternative medicine? E-mail fitness@sacbee.com.)