We are all under great pressure to look our best. "If an alien were to watch 15 minutes of American TV it could tell that our culture worships at the altar of youth and perfection" (Johnson 42). Whether it be at school, work, or even a trip to the grocery store we all feel that attractiveness aids in social acceptance. A recent trend in our culture today is the rising popularity of plastic surgery to achieve social satisfaction. The media causes men and women of all ages who have no dramatic disfigurations from accidents and/or from birth to want to change their physical appearance. Along with the unknown, long-term health effects, some of the controversial effects of plastic surgery are the risk of disappointment from unrealistic expectations, and negative health effects such as scarring and nerve damage. .
Plastic surgery specializes in both cosmetic and reconstructive surgery. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, cosmetic surgery is performed to reshape normal structures of the body in order to improve the patient's appearance and self-esteem ("Cosmetic"). On the other hand, reconstructive surgery is performed on abnormal structures of the body caused by congenital defects such as a harelip (cleft palate), developmental abnormalities, trauma, tumors or disease ("Cosmetic"). It is generally performed to improve functions, but may also be done to approximate a normal appearance. .
According to ASPS over 12 years, from 1992-2003, the number of cosmetic plastic surgery procedures has increased 424 percent, while the number of reconstructive plastic surgery procedures has increased 34 percent. This shows the ever-increasing popularity of cosmetic surgery to alter appearance. Reconstructive surgery is something that will always be needed by people who have abnormal disfiguration. The top five cosmetic surgical procedures performed in 2003 were breast augmentation, liposuction, eyelid surgery, tummy tuck, and facelift ("11.