Arguments for cosmetic surgery include the fact that many so-called cosmetic procedures actually have significant value in the treatment of health problems. This type of operation can also treat disfiguring conditions and, in many cases, improve the self-esteem and emotional well-being of patients who undergo these procedures. Although there are certainly cases in which cosmetic surgery is misused or patients have unrealistic expectations of its ability to transform their appearance, plastic surgery can help them lead happier lives in which they are better integrated into society. As such, despite the way it is perceived both inside and outside the medical community, there remain strong arguments for cosmetic surgery that address multiple social and health-related factors.
Many people think of cosmetic surgery as a luxury for vain people who can afford to undergo expensive medical procedures. While it is true that some cosmetic surgery procedures serve only to enhance the appearance of patients, there are some types of aesthetic surgery that can benefit a patient's physical health. For example, insurance companies have long recognized that cosmetic surgery on the nose can treat significant breathing problems. When individuals are better able to breathe, their health definitely benefits. Another example is that of breast reduction, as women with very large breasts can suffer from back and neck pain along with skin rashes under their breasts, which can be addressed through breast reduction surgery. Both of these procedures provide strong arguments for cosmetic surgery.
It is also true that many people are judged on the basis of their appearance, often in ways that may be unfair but that nonetheless have a significant impact on their lives. For example, unattractive people, or those with facial defects or significant birthmarks, are often victims of various types of social discrimination, including job discrimination. As a result, their economic well-being may be jeopardized by their looks. For individuals who have a facial or otherwise visible defect, cosmetic surgery can help protect them from further discrimination and, in some cases, may actually benefit society as a whole because these individuals will be better able to obtain gainful employment. In such cases, arguments for plastic surgery can be made on both compassionate and economic grounds.
Even in cases where an individual simply wants a cosmetic procedure in order to improve an already average or even attractive appearance, arguments for cosmetic surgery can be made. In some cultures, looking young is highly prized, and many people may seek to slow the aging process by having various procedures, such as botox or liposuction, done to make themselves appear younger. This can give these people an edge in employment as well as seeking out potential romantic partners. Plus, as these individuals may feel that they look better than before the surgery, their enhanced appearance can have a positive effect on their overall mental state.