Cosmetic Surgery


Imagine waking up from a deep slumber with the weight of an elephant on your chest, clueless as to where you are and why you are there.

That’s how Amanda Battaglia, a future transfer student of the nursing program at UNF, felt when she woke up after a routine plastic surgery procedure.

“When I did wake up for good, I was completely ‘drunk,’” said Battaglia. “It was like I had no short-term memory.”

Breast augmentation, or a boob job, and rhinoplasty, commonly known as a nose job, are among two of the most popular cosmetic plastic surgery procedures in the U.S.

“Only after about two weeks was I happy,” Battaglia said. “And now I love my [breast augmentation] and wouldn’t change anything!”

Battaglia is far from alone. While only 5 percent of college students in a recent study said they’d had cosmetic surgery, most knew fellow students who had undergone such procedures.

Many also responded that they approved of such treatments and could see themselves having cosmetic surgery in the upcoming years.

In fact, the amount of plastic surgery cosmetic surgeons perform around the world has skyrocketed. Between 1997 and 2003, the rates of cosmetic surgery went up almost 300 percent.

In 2008, doctors performed roughly 356,000 breast augmentations. They performed Just over 175,000 of these procedures on patients who were under 35 years old, according to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, the association that put together the Cosmetic Surgery National Data Bank of 2008.

Nooks, crannies of procedure

Debi Henschel, a UNF grad who also had a recent breast augmentation, emphasized the importance of researching doctors and their practice before scheduling an operation.

“I was totally dead-set on going to this one guy,” Henschel said. “But after I met him face-to-face, I totally didn’t like him.”

Henschel said the physician made her wait three hours before he met with her for her consultation and he made her feel stupid when asking questions.

After many more consultations, she found a different physician who was nice and eager to listen to all of her questions without interrupting. The doctor also provided her with suggestions to keep her body proportionate post-surgery.

“He took [my body] into consideration,” Henschel said. “No other doctor did that for me.”

As for the pain? Henschel said she went shopping the very next day.

The Chosun Ilbo and the Olive Channel, separate divisions of the Health Insurance Review and Assessment Service, polled female college students from Aug. 5 until Aug. 23 in 2009, and 120 students said they had an operation immediately after high school graduation, 185 said their operations was in college, 141 underwent surgery after college graduation and some even admitted to having procedures done in elementary school. Although 371 students had surgery once, 28 participants had more than three operations.

Hanna Griffin, a 22-year-old Jacksonville native, decided when she was a child that she didn’t like the shape of her ears. She said that as a 7-year-old, she never wore her hair up and was embarrassed because other children would make fun of her ears.

Griffin and her mother scheduled an otoplasty, a procedure that pins back the ears, but were frustrated when the initial procedure failed. Actually, the first two flopped.

“The third procedure worked exactly as I wanted,” Griffin said. “You can’t even see any scarring.”

Age before beauty

Last year almost 11,000 patients 18 years old and younger underwent the ear-reshaping procedure, according to the society’s data bank.

Because of outcomes similar to Griffin’s, many parents and activists try to place an age requirement on plastic surgery procedures. But in reality, there is no mandatory age a patient should be in order to be a candidate for plastic surgery.

Dr. Michael Bermant, a physician certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, practices just outside Richmond, Va.

Teenages patients need special consideration, Bermant said on his Web site. Some of the important factors include the growing body, degree of deformity, what is affected and the decision-making ability.

In Griffin’s case, she missed a significant amount of school. She doesn’t remember if the procedure caused her pain but does not plan to have any cosmetic plastic surgery procedures in the future.

Some of these self-pampering procedures do affect patients psychologically.

A recent analysis of 37 studies by social worker Roberta Honigman and psychiatrists Dr. Katharine Phillips and Dr. David Castle on patients’ psychological and psychosocial functioning before and after cosmetic surgery suggests positive outcomes in patients, including improvements in body image and a quality-of-life boost too.

The procedure greatly affected Henschel’s lifestyle and quality-of-life, she said.

“I definitely recommend [plastic surgery],” Henschel said. “And if I had to do it again, I would do it in a heartbeat! I’m so happy [with the outcome].”