Updated: Jul 4
There are ongoing debates about the implications of cosmetic surgery and aesthetic medicine. Some believe that it is only about vanity and beauty, while others feel it is a part of staying and feeling healthy. Our lifespan is limited, and we try to extend it by staying healthy through proper nutrition, diet, exercise, and even medication.
But does extending your lifespan equate to living a fulfilling life?
Quality of life is more important than just living longer, and any extension of lifespan should be validated and measured against it. Painful life is the enemy of dignity, and a youthful balance between a healthy physique and mentality is required to lead a quality life.
Any factor disrupting the balance needs preventive and treatment measures, and that is precisely where aesthetic medicine, cosmetic surgery, and anti-aging medicine become a part of public health needs.
You Look as Young as You Feel
The above analogy is more applicable in the present age, where old age is looked upon as a sign of inefficacy and expiration. The medical community has made significant progress in anti-aging medicine, and the average population is living longer- but is everyone happy with how they look? Do they feel as healthy on the outside as they do inside?
Cosmetic surgery and aesthetic medicine can be the ideal tool to make a person healthy on the outside, complementing the results of anti-aging medicine. Health and vanity often go hand in hand- people want to live a long and healthy life and seek validation from others in the form of attention, praise, and acceptance. They want to look as good as they feel, and our mental health is affected by how others see and react to us. If you are not satisfied with how you look, it can lead to depression, social phobias, and low self-esteem.
That’s precisely why cosmetic procedures are considered. Insurance companies reimburse simple medical practices in some developed countries and all costs.
Keeping Expectations Real
Both the patient and the physician must have realistic expectations when it comes to procedures like plastic surgery. Some patients go too far with cosmetic surgery, undertaking unnecessary procedures as they are never satisfied with how they look. They want to look like their favorite celebrities or want to have something they were not born.
As physicians, it lands us in a difficult position- should we honor their wishes or say no only to have someone else carry out the procedure!
The best way is to educate the patient and counsel him to create realistic expectations. Cosmetic procedures only benefit those who want to boost their confidence and self-esteem by looking a bit better and not those who hate how they look.
We should abide by the Hippocratic Oath and “do no harm” and carry out cosmetic procedures only when it boosts the patient's mental health.
Current Technologies do not Promote Real Expectations
90% of any aesthetic procedure involves comprehending patient concerns and needs, educating them, and creating realistic expectations. It may sound easy, but in reality, it’s pretty complex, leading to unwanted and less desirable outcomes of cosmetic procedures. The available technologies aren’t also effective and somewhat underutilized for achieving improves aesthetic procedure outcomes. We have expensive and bulky aesthetic imaging technologies, but they don’t create realistic expectations for the patient.
The technologies don’t incorporate real-time and real-live data about the patient and end up creating false expectations. Most of them use computer animation to provide a digital simulation of before and after results but don’t use any individual patient data to make accurate predictions.
What Can We Change?
Just like any other medical field, we need to connect cosmetic surgeons and patients remotely. The technology needs to be interactive and sophisticated, and the patients should be able to see and hear what the surgeon is explaining. They should also see simulations that take personal patient information into account and display how procedures are conducted with predictable results at the end. We will need an advanced and robust technological framework to realize this objective.
Cosmetic medicine is just like any other branch of medicine. Giving remote access is the only way to deliver quality care, increase revenue, respect patient privacy, and increase patient satisfaction. It’s also an ideal way to connect a surgeon to as many patients as possible and bring it within everyone’s reach. In many underdeveloped countries, children with cleft palates or other conditions don’t have access to healthcare professionals. Remote access is the only way to take healthcare right at their doorstep, whether for cancer care, psychology, or cosmetic procedures.
How will the Future Look?
People will utilize future technology just like all areas of healthcare to connect doctors and patients without any borders and improve procedural outcomes.
The system will be secure and interactive, relying on real-time data and patient information. The simulations will use factual patient information, and you will be able to see precisely how you will look after the procedure- no more approximations or unrealistic expectations!
It will enable patients to make objective decisions about their procedures way ahead of time- they will get to see the outcomes months ahead of the actual procedure date and get a good idea about the procedure. Physicians will also be able to improve the outcome of each procedure every time they undertake it.