Beauty is an abstract concept, and one that, perhaps, is yet to be given an exact definition. Undoubtedly, society sees beauty as a virtue, and beauty has always been understood in terms of striving towards an ideal. It remains important to everyone who wants to fully partake in society, and enjoy recognition. To look beautiful is a natural desire common to all of us. Rapid improvement is medical technology means that, when faced with a real or a perceived shortcoming in appearance, many people increasingly turn to plastic surgery.
Indrė Sakalauskaitė, Renaldas Vaičiūnas and Arūnas Jankauskas, doctors of plastic and reconstructive surgery with many years of experience, share about the trends in plastic surgery, common reasons for undergoing plastic surgery, and what is important to know when choosing a surgeon for the daunting task of reshaping the face or body.
According to dr. Indrė Sakalauskaitė, the number of people who contact plastic surgeons is increasing every year. She sees a couple of reasons for this trend: plastic surgery has become accessible to more people, and there is no longer any fear of talking about plastic surgery publicly. “If until recently most patients preferred to keep their surgical interventions secret, today people talk about it openly. Society’s view of plastic surgery has changed, a more open attitude towards one’s body has emerged, along with the awareness that congenital or acquired defects of the body can be corrected via surgery, removing the need to endure psychological discomfort and allowing the person to enjoy an improved quality of life,” says dr. Sakalauskaitė.
According to her, the most popular surgeries are currently aimed at improving the eyelids, the shape and size of the breasts, nose, and abdomen, as well as liposuction procedures. What is also becoming increasingly popular is body contouring with fat transfer, when fat is removed from problematic areas of the body and injected into areas where it is lacking.
As for the most common motives for plastic surgery, dr. Arūnas Jankauskas says patients cite dissatisfaction with their appearance as the most significant reason. Psychological studies also show that most people expect improved psychological well-being, a better quality of life, higher self-esteem, and more harmonious partnerships as the result of plastic surgery.
According to dr. Jankauskas, there is still a lot of discussion about whether the desire to change oneself is always justified, or if it is motivated merely by an inferiority complex or an attempt to chase fashion. “Of course, there are patients who come to us just because their friends do also. However, based on many years of experience, I can say with confidence that plastic surgery can improve the quality of a person’s life. If a person believes that thanks to an improved appearance they will feel more confident, it is worth contacting a plastic surgeon and solving the problem. This is definitely not vanity” he says.
“If a person constantly thinks about the shortcomings of their appearance, and it prevents them from living a full life, I would always advise to try and solve the problem” says dr. Sakalauskaitė in concurrence with her colleague.
At the same time, all doctors stand unanimously against preventive cosmetic surgery. “When I’m asked when is a plastic surgery really necessary, my answer is – only when imperfections of appearance interfere with life; when you cannot bear to look at yourself in the mirror” says dr. Vaičiūnas
Doctors emphasize that once you have decided to undergo plastic surgery, the consultation with a plastic surgeon plays a vital role.
As dr. Jankauskas shares: “When people come to plastic surgeons, they expect us to realize their dreams, and to do it in the most modern and effective way. It takes a lot of wisdom and experience to understand the patient’s expectations, as well as a lot of courage to cut into the bodies of others, and shape them like sculptures. Plastic surgery is continuous artistry. It is impossible to follow templates here, because all people are different, and you do exactly what a particular person needs done.”
Dr. Jankauskas notes that there are many nuances in plastic reconstructive surgery. Each operation is a joint effort of the patient and the operating doctor. A plastic surgeon needs to understand not only the intricacies of plastic surgery itself, but also those of human psychology. Beauty has no specific standards. Each of us has our own ideal of beauty, which consists of many variables; therefore, according to the doctor, one of the most important tasks is to listen to the expectations of each patient and see if you can meet them.
“Doctor’s professional code of honor states: ‘Help, but do no harm’. While the possibilities of plastic surgery today are vast, surgeons who respect and abide by the code of ethics do not attempt to satisfy a patient’s unreasonable desires, and do not perform surgical interventions on people who do not need such treatment” emphasizes dr. Jankauskas.
“Indeed, a good aesthetic surgery specialist should have a thorough understanding of the possibilities of modern medicine, but professional ethics is equally important.” agrees dr. Vaičiūnas. “If a plastic surgeon does not understand what to do, when to do it, and when to not do it, they not only compromise best practices, but also fail to help their clients, thereby damaging their reputation. The best and most modern method, applied where it is not appropriate, becomes compromised. In my work, I always follow the principle: no aesthetics without ethics. I agree to perform the surgery only when I am certain of good results, and that I will meet the client’s expectations.”
“Many plastic surgeons know how to operate well in terms of technique, and this, of course, is very important” he continues. “However, if the surgeon isn’t able or doesn’t care to carefully select only those patients who actually need these operations, they compromise themselves. I think it is the factor that people refer to when they say that someone is a good surgeon as opposed to someone else who is not as good. It is important to anticipate the outcome and, if necessary, to be able to tell the patient ‘I am sorry, but your expectations are unrealistic’ or ‘you don’t need this surgery’”. According to the doctor, the essence of everything in medicine is experience.
“The most important thing in our work is to do no harm to the patient. Everyone is beautiful in their own way; therefore, in addressing any esthetic imperfection, we try to enhance and preserve the natural beauty of our patients. The professional aspiration of any plastic surgeon is to perform surgery such that the results of the intervention would have no visible signs of the surgery itself” concludes dr. Sakalauskaitė.
According to dr. Vaičiūnas, it is only over a period of years that the specialist acquires that wealth of knowledge that allows them to help patients avoid mistakes; to give them proper advice, and find optimal solutions.
The team of doctors unanimously agrees that creating true beauty requires not only knowledge, skill, quality techniques and tools, but also the continuous updating of knowledge about the latest products, technologies, services, trends, and training programs, as well as participation in seminars and conferences, exchanging experiences and ideas with colleagues from all over the world. After all, the goal of plastic surgery professionals is to meet your expectations.