February 01, 2020

Cosmetic surgery

Facts and fiction

Tightening sagging skin due to aging with surgery can be a realistic choice for older adults. Still, it's not a quick and easy fix and it comes with real costs, risks and limitations.

Blepharoplasty procedure

You may have seen cosmetic surgery portrayed in popular TV shows. These shows often sensationalize the operations, showing extreme or disastrous procedures and wealthy clients with unreasonable requests and expectations. But Mayo Clinic experts say cosmetic surgery is rarely like that.

In reality, while the decision to have any type of surgery is serious, many ordinary people seek surgeries to change their appearance, as it may help them feel better about their bodies. According to one report, 1.8 million people underwent cosmetic surgery in the U.S. in 2018.

However, cosmetic surgery does not provide an easy, instant makeover. It's still surgery — sometimes requiring general anesthesia — and comes with real costs, risks and limitations.

What is it?

Plastic surgery is primarily concerned with changing the shape of a body part. Plastic surgery can include procedures related to disease, trauma or congenital problems, such as breast reconstruction after cancer treatment or repair of a cleft palate. It can also include procedures not related to those problems, such as tightening sagging skin due to aging. This is what's usually described as cosmetic surgery. However it's labeled, the goal of plastic surgery is to improve a person's appearance, self-esteem and confidence.

Some of the most commonly done cosmetic surgeries include:


During a face-lift, skin on each side of the face is lifted up, tissues below the skin are repositioned, and excess skin is removed. This...