Turn on the TV or flip through a magazine, and you'll see images of beautiful women who appear to have it all. Often, these images start a stream of internal "if onlys": If only I had bigger breasts, then I'd be happy. If only my butt was smaller, then I'd feel comfortable in a bikini.
Certainly, plastic surgeon Dr. Motykie performs his fair share of cosmetic procedures for these very beauty concerns. But, he's also here to tell you, "not so fast," when it comes to your internal "if only" dialogue.
Beauty is a powerful thing. According to Motykie, attraction to beauty is hard wired into humanity's DNA, so there's no escaping the fact that beauty truly does matter. Motykie says, "It is inescapable and natural," to desire beauty, and "there is no doubt that increasing physical beauty can increase one's positive body image."
The problem, however, is that beauty is not the only building block for healthy self-esteem. Imagining that increased beauty can fix all of your self-doubt and body-image problems is a little like imagining a Band-Aid can fix a broken bone. "Most people try to separate internal and external beauty," says Motykie. "More often, they are entwined in a spiral relationship." This is why Motykie strives to incorporate holistic health into his plastic surgery practice, and also why he's known to turn patients away if they're better served by a different approach to their beauty concerns — like diet, exercise and even mental health counseling.
That said, Motykie is clear that surgery is an excellent option for many men and women who want to bolster their self-esteem. Sometimes, unflattering physical characteristics — like asymmetric breasts, loose skin after pregnancy, disproportionate facial features or physical deformities following cancer or traumatic injury — cause mental anguish and aren't treatable with diet and exercise alone. These individuals are good candidates for surgical procedures.
He is clear, however, that surgery isn't the only answer and it should never stand alone. "A positive body image is achieved in many different ways, including diet, exercise or surgery. I believe a combined approach of all three leads to the most powerful, permanent and long-lasting results for positive body image." Motykie typically prescribes a mixture of non-invasive procedures, nutritional changes and an exercise regimen, even for the best surgical candidates.
If you feel that plastic surgery is a good option for you and your body image, Motykie cautions that you do your research before selecting a surgeon. "Today, you'll find anyone from podiatrists to brain surgeons offering cosmetic treatments," he says.
Instead of using and old doctor, Motykie suggests working with a board certified plastic surgeon. "The true art of plastic surgery is to carefully listen to each patient's desires from surgery, determine their own unique aesthetic sense and then use experience to achieve personalized beauty and improved overall body image."
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