In a recent opinions piece featured in the May issue of the New York Times, actress Angelina Jolie revealed a cosmetic procedure that she had done and why. The procedure—breast reconstructive surgery—followed a double mastectomy which Jolie obtained as a preventative measure against breast cancer.
Jolie’s shares her own personal encounter with breast cancer in the article, saying, “My mother fought cancer for almost a decade and died at 56. She held out long enough to meet the first of her grandchildren and to hold them in her arms. But my other children will never have the chance to know her and experience how loving and gracious she was.”
When doctors estimated that Jolie had an 87% risk of breast cancer in her lifetime, she decided to take steps immediately to make sure her grandchildren would have the chance to experience her love.
After the surgery, Jolie said, “My chances of developing breast cancer have dropped from 87 percent to under 5 percent. I can tell my children that they don’t need to fear they will lose me to breast cancer.”
For Jolie, that assurance makes all the difference.
However, not all cosmetic procedures have such noble intentions. Some patients become addicted to cosmetic operations, choosing to have multiple modifications done at once. Celebrities in particular deal with heavy pressure to retain their youth at all costs, and they put their physical appearance before the health of their bodies.
For instance, take actress Heidi Montag. Montag’s repertoire of cosmetic procedures includes a chin reduction, brow lift, pinned ears, multiple liposuctions, breast augmentations, and many more. Her attempt to remake herself has left numerous scars on her body, and they are constant reminders of a choice she now regrets.
“People have fewer scars from car accidents than I have on my body. I’m always going to feel like Edward Scissorhands,” said Montag in an interview with Life & Style magazine.
To be clear, healthy plastic surgery doesn’t always have to be about preventing cancer. Exterior change can be a crucial confidence booster, thus in turn creating internal, psychological benefits. However, plastic surgery for the sake of plastic surgery is never a healthy option.
Evaluate why you want a cosmetic procedure, and have realistic expectations about the final results—that is the key to approaching plastic surgery from a healthy perspective.
Angelina Jolie closes her article with a poignant message she to every woman: “Life comes with many challenges. The ones that should not scare us are the ones we can take on and take control of.”
While the stars in general may not be ideal examples of healthy cosmetic surgery, there are exceptions to the rule that use cosmetic procedures in safe, responsibly, and healthy ways. We can only hope that these few will be the role models for how plastic surgery is perceived.