When people talk about plastic surgery, they immediately assume one of three things in most cases: a nose job, breast augmentation, or liposuction. While Dr. Joel Aronowitz agrees that these three treatments represent some of the most common work performed on patients, they do not represent the totality of plastic surgery.
First, it’s important to understand what plastic surgery is. The origins of plastic surgery actually come from restoration, specifically the need to address disfigurement that was extremely common for survivors of World War I battles.
The group of procedures that go by the moniker “plastic surgery” is typically in what is referred to as elective surgery. These are procedures that are not necessarily required for immediate health preservation or improvement, such as removing a cancerous tumor. Instead, they are optional. Because of this difference, plastic surgery is often associated with movie stars and the rich, spending on preserving their celebrity looks and appearance versus using exercise and nutrition like normal people. The fact is, many movie stars rely on eating right and exercising as much as anyone else. They just have more time available to pursue it when not acting, versus someone working an 8 or 10-hour workday for any employer. Dr. Joel Aronowitz argues that the myth of plastic surgery being something for the rich is the fact that most health insurance programs don’t cover elective procedures, so the cost of being out of pocket immediately becomes a stigma to anyone considering it. Plus, celebrities spend a lot of time in front of a camera, which makes issues obvious to them. Many have only realized the same during the pandemic after repeating Zoom meetings and seeing themselves on camera as well.
Second, some plastic surgery procedures can be applied for coverage if they are considered essential work for basic restoration, especially for a traumatic injury. Many patients have appealed decisions by their insurance companies originally deemed elective to then gain approval for a procedure that is clearly focused on restoring the patient to the status quo versus an “enhancement.”
In reality, there are a number of procedures involved with plastic surgery, and not all of them have a higher price tag for the work performed. In fact, Dr. Joel Aronowitz notes, multiple smaller procedures can be had for affordable prices that have immediate improvement effects on how a person looks, feels, and presents himself or herself afterward. Folks should really spend a bit of time finding out the differences in what procedures are available and could benefit them, versus just assuming all plastic surgery is only affordable by a Hollywood star or celebrity.
For anyone thinking about plastic surgery but feeling it might be out of reach, Dr. Joel Aronowitz suggests first talking to an actual expert and plastic surgeon. Folks may very well be surprised by what’s actually possible and within their budget range. Further, what they assume is elective may not be with the right requests and appeals as well. A lot depends on how much information a patient has to work with and how persistent they are in seeking all the resources available for a given procedure.