Disfiguration from cosmetic surgery

Disfiguration from cosmetic surgery always is a risk, and the world is full of people who wanted to look better, went for cosmetic treatment, and ended up looking worse. Michael Jackson is a sad example.

I understand the lure of the “everything is possible” idea. And because I believe that I have a good awareness of the ideological implications of cosmetic procedures, I consider personal beautification a highly relevant endeavor.

But nevertheless, I myself have a conservative approach to cosmetic surgery. I do not do alteration surgery (surgery that aims to change my basic physical features, such as my nose, chin, cheeks), and I have no implants whatsoever (I am even critical of fillers).

All I do myself is rejuvenation surgery, the aim of which is to re-establish my natural appearance of 10, 20, or even 30 years ago. In most cases, this means stretching skin. Therefore, I consider the facelift the king of cosmetic surgery. Practically everybody’s looks profit from facelifts, and the risk of things going wrong in conventional facelifts is minimal.

Those risks that are related to general anesthesia do not count for me, as anyway, I undergo all procedures (and have undergone all my facelifts) under local anesthesia.

One “risk” that, in my opinion, most people overestimate, is the one of scars. First of all, scars in men are probably less of a concern than scars in women. Until a few decades ago, men would even be proud of scars, displaying them as signs of manliness or bravery (such as “Schmisse” from dueling).

I would not go that far in my case, but I have always found the impact of small scars from facial cosmetic procedures quite bearable.

Certainly, I find them more bearable than the negative impact of implants gone wrong, as, for example, in the case of Michael Jackson.

And I also find scars less of an impediment than the negative effects of skin surface treatments. I have never undergone any peeling, chemical or laser-based, as I consider the risk of a disfigured skin surface much worse than that of a scar or two.


Nichola Rumsey, Diana Harcourt, Body image and disfigurement: issues and interventions, Body Image, Volume 1, Issue 1, January 2004, Pages 83-97


A. Clarke, Psychosocial aspects of facial disfigurement: Problems, management and the role of a lay-led organizationPsychology, Health & Medicine, Volume 4, Issue 2, 1999 pages 127-142


Lindsey E. Vickery DClin Psychol1,*, Gary Latchford PhD2, Jenny Hewison PhD2, Maggie Bellew PhD1 andTricia Feber Dip Nursing3, The impact of head and neck cancer and facial disfigurement on the quality of life of patients and their partners, Head & Neck, Volume 25, Issue 4, pages 289-296, April 2003


Christine Callahan MSW, LCSW-C; Facial Disfigurement and Sense of Self in Head and Neck Cancer, Social Work in Health Care, Volume 40, Issue 2, 2005 ages 73-87