Going under the knife in the name of youth, beauty

More people are choosing to undergo plastic surgery despite the ever-present risks and once negative connotation.

Plastic surgery consists of two types of surgical procedures: cosmetic, consisting of augmentations, lifts, reshaping, tucks and other things of that nature.

Reconstructive surgery consists of reductions, repairs and scar revisions among other things.

People from every lifestyle are going under the knife. According to http://www.plasticsurgery.org, $8.2 billion was spent on cosmetic procedures in 2004 resulting in 9.2 million procedures being done.

Out of the 9.2 million operations, 5.6 million of them were reconstructive procedures.

One of those 9.2 million cosmetic procedures performed in 2004 was Kristyn Miller’s breast augmentation.

Miller, 20, a sophomore, nursing student at Florida State University from Jacksonville, said she has wanted to have her breasts enlarged since she was a sophomore in high school.

“I just always wanted it for a long time,” said Miller, who went from an A cup to an “almost full” C cup. “I didn’t want to do it straight out of high school just in case something (in my mind) changed, but it didn’t.”

Miller’s surgery was one of 264,000 breast augmentations performed in 2004.

According to http://www.plasticsurgery.org, breast augmentation was the third most performed cosmetic procedure in 2004.

Breast augmentations are also one of the most performed cosmetic procedures performed at Plastic Surgery of North Florida located at 2558 Capital Medical Blvd., said Susan Page, a registered nurse and certified plastic surgery nurse.

Page said that one of the reasons plastic surgery has gained so much recent popularity, a five percent increase from 2000-2004, is because of the TV shows like “Extreme Makeover” that have come out over the past few years.

In order to have anything done at the medical facility, Page said, there must first be a consultation with the surgeon, Jeffrey Rawlings.

“(The potential patients) call and schedule a consultation with Dr. Rawlings,” Page said, noting that potential patients can schedule a second consultation. “Dr. Rawlings will spend a great deal of time with them.”

Page noticed that cosmetic surgery patients are not typical stereotypes that many people think they are.

“It is not for just the rich and famous anymore,” the registered nurse said. “Anyone can undergo it.”

It is no secret that cosmetic procedures cost a great deal of money.

According to http://www.plasticsurgery.org, the average cost of breast augmentations in 2003 was $3,375.

The average cost of a facelift was $5,283 and an abdominoplasty, better known as a tummy tuck, cost $4,641.

Some patients choose to finance the surgeries themselves. Others can work out a payment plan with the financing company that they do business with.

Miller chose to pay for her surgery using her and her parents’ money.

“I used my graduation money to pay for half of it and my parents helped me out with half,” Miller said.

There is a rising number of men who undergo cosmetic procedures.

According to http://www.about.com, men make up about 14 percent of all Botox injections, 15 percent of liposuctions and 20 percent of laser hair removal surgeries.

Page said that only five percent of Rawlings’ patients are men, but Miller said she knows of many men in Jacksonville, where she got her surgery.

“I did know a guy who got plastic surgery,” Miller said. She said that sometimes men come in with their wives or girlfriends when they have their consultations and wind up getting something done themselves. “I know my doctor has a lot of male patients.”

While Miller and Page are in favor of plastic surgery, many are not.

One of them, DeAndra Monroe, 20, a fitness monitor at the FAMU Fitness Center, said she would never have surgery performed, but would not hold it against anyone else.

In terms of people’s weight, Monroe said that simple exercise and healthy eating could do wonders for the body.

That exercise would help the human body without having to pay such extreme prices.

“I wouldn’t knock anyone who does (get plastic surgery),” said Monroe, a sophomore pharmacy student from Vero Beach.

Monroe said that she maintains healthy exercise and eating habits.

“Physically, you are improving your health as well as your body.”

Brittany Graham, 19, sophomore dance student at FSU from Tallahassee, said that cosmetic surgery should be done as an extreme measure or last resort only.

Graham has no problem with reconstructive procedures, but added that people should just be happy with what they have when it comes to cosmetic procedures.

“People are naturally beautiful,” Graham said. “I believe God made people a certain way and you don’t need to go and change.”

For those who decide to have something done, Miller suggests that potential patients research their doctors.

“Do your homework,” said Page. “You have to be well-informed. You have to know what you’re getting. Plastic surgery is still surgery. It’s a major ordeal.”

In preparation for her surgery, Miller compiled a list of surgeons, asked them a wide variety of questions about what she was going to go through.

Miller is satisfied with her surgical results. She, along with Page, feels that anyone who gets plastic surgery should get it done for their own reasons and no one else’s.

“It wasn’t like I wanted to look like someone from a magazine,” said Miller.

She said that many people , like her boyfriend, did not want her to have it done.

“I did it to feel proportioned.

Most people understood, but they were like, ‘you’re comfortable the way you are.’

My friends were happy that I felt happy in my own skin (afterwards).”

Contact Brandon D. Oliver at bdoliver@yahoo.com