25 Things I’ve learned about Plastic Surgery – #2 Mirrors

Mirrors. The good, the bad, and the ugly.

The good. Wow! What an invention. Whoever invented that was a genius. Every day, every one of us looks into a mirror at least once. Whether it’s combing your hair, putting on makeup, shaving, or making sure your clothes look right … well you get the point. Mirrors reflect your outward appearance. They let you preview what others are about to see. They also allow you to make adjustments for the way you wish to appear. Like it or not, the fact is that people make judgements on the way we appear. Most of us, on some level care about how we are perceived and therefore care about our appearance. I think this is natural. The good part for me is that when people don’t like what they see, they call my office and make an appointment. I should really sell mirrors!  Whether it’s removal of an unsightly mole, or liposuction, everyone has opinion about plastic surgery and changing your appearance. Many argue that we are all caught up in too much superficial issues about appearance. They blame the media for bombarding us with images which form societal norms of beauty. What the nay sayers don’t see is the liberation and improvement of the quality of life that most patients have following successful changes that are made, whether done by surgery or other non-surgical procedures. I think we should all be a little more tolerant of what other people think and feel. More on that in later blogs.

The bad. Ugh! That damned mirror. “Mirrors don’t lie”. Sometimes we get too caught up and focus on some detail that others really don’t “see”. Some patients have to contort their body in order to show me something that they see in a particular light and in a particular position. The worst are those 15X mirrors which show every pore and line. I will frequently have to assure my patients that “no one can see that” and “not to worry”. The good thing for these patients to remember is that our eyesight is not as good as the 15X mirror, especially as we get older! Also, I’ve learned that not all mirrors are created equally. There are the good “skinny” mirrors and the bad “fat” mirrors. The skinny mirrors are usually found in your friends’ guest rooms and department store dressing rooms. The fat mirrors are the ones in the circus side shows. Make sure you have a good mirror.

skinny-mirror

The ugly. Oy! There are some people who can’t stop thinking about their appearance. There is actually a condition called Body Dysmorphic Disorder. In this disorder the person is preoccupied with something about their appearance and the preoccupation actually can interfere with their ability to function. Usually the perceived imperfection is relatively minor but “blown out of proportion”. Performing surgery on these patients is a “no-no”. Like any other mental illness these patients need to be directed to the appropriate therapist for help.

I bet you never thought so much about mirrors huh? And this is just scratching the surface (pun intended). Anyway, thanks for reading. 23 more to go!