Addicted to Plastic Surgery: The Facts
By Sarah Matthews | Published on May 29, 2009 | 0 Comments
Wannabe actress and model Jenny Lee had suffered more than 37 operations before she even reached her 30 birthday, most of them excruciatingly painful and requiring a long recovery period. While the initial temptation might be to feel sorry for the poor girl, that altruism begins to wane a bit once the blonde, long-legged Texas native reveals that none of the ops were actually necessary. In fact, they were all cosmetic.
“I don’t want to grow old gracefully,” Jenny told a television program recently. And she hasn’t. Among the cosmetic surgical procedures the plastic surgery addict has undergone are three breast lifts, three nose jobs, a cheek implant, a chin implant, liposuction on various parts of her body, full teeth veneers, Botox injections and, the coup de grace, a full body lift.
“My situation with plastic surgery is one that is very difficult for my family and many others to understand,” Jenny has written on her blog, next to a photo of her with greatly enhanced breasts, a completely flat tummy and a rather ridiculously thin nose. “There is a saying that goes, ‘I can explain it to you, but I cannot understand it for you.’ That is the way I feel about the situation.”
While Jenny might be a bit extreme – she actually wanted to recreate Michael Jackson’s nose on her own face, for example – it’s not as difficult to become addicted to plastic surgery as you would imagine. Some people have a couple of frown lines erased with dermal fillers or a quick breast uplift and stop there. But for others, that first nip and tuck or that initial Botox injection signals the beginning of a lifetime of surgery after surgery, with no end in sight.
So many people worldwide have become hooked on plastic surgery that recently the British National Health Service devised a checklist to determine who was an addict and who wasn’t. It also told them to be on the look-out for signs they had developed Body Dysmorphic Disorder, also known as “imagined ugly syndrome”, a potentially severe condition where you are constantly finding fault with the way you look.
Fueling the Obsession
It may sound far-fetched, but becoming an addict is easier than you might think. Celebrities set the standard in their quest for perfection, and many of us mere mortals seek to follow suit. One sad fact of human nature is that once we have one cosmetic procedure carried out with favorable results, we want more. And, more often than not, we can easily find a cosmetic surgeon more than willing to carry out our demands – no matter how ridiculous they may seem. “Cosmetic surgery is potentially habit-forming,” said Adam Searle, the president of the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS), in a recent interview. “These people feel a sense of psychological wellbeing after one procedure and this fuels the notion that they would feel even better if they had another.” And another. And another. And another…
Signs You’re Becoming an Addict
Here are some simple signs to determine whether your hobby is turning into a compulsion:
- You want multiple surgeries, particularly on one body part, such as the tummy or breasts.
- You are obsessive about constantly checking your appearance for flaws, which could be a sign of BDD, or Body Dysmorphic Disorder (see above).
- You are obsessed by the way a celebrity looks, or by a body part belonging to a specific celebrity, such as Michael Jackson’s nose (above).
- You harbor unrealistic expectations about what plastic surgery can do for you, thinking that repeated surgeries will make you a better person, give you the confidence you crave, enable you to get a better job, sort out your love life etc.
- You are willing to spend money you don’t have on cosmetic procedures, going hugely into debt, spending your children’s college money, or taking out a second mortgage on your house.
Plastic Surgery Addicts
If you can’t resist a Botox top-up twice a year, never fear. There are addicts out there much more twisted than you. Here are just a few of some of the more bizarre and/or well-known addicts, who just can’t seem to stay away from the knife…
- Korean-born Hang Mioku, 48, reportedly injected cooking oil into her own face in a bid to make herself more beautiful. Her first facial cosmetic operation was when she was 28, and since then she just can’t seem to stay away. Unfortunately, her face is now so ravaged by her do-it-yourself procedures that she may face additional surgery just to look normal.
- Alicia Douvall, 29, checked herself into rehab in Malibu, California after realizing that she is not content with the more than 100 operations she’s had on her face and body. I’ve had so many operations that I can’t feel my stomach, my left breast, or anything under my right arm,” the British-born model said in an interview recently. “I’ve had 15 boob jobs. I’ve changed my eyes and nose, had face lifts. My philosophy is, ‘if it can be changed, it will be’”.
- Jocelyn Wildenstein, dubbed the “Bride of Wildenstein”, has reportedly spent up to $1 million to completely redo her face in a failed attempt to make it resemble a cat. The wealthy socialite, originally from Switzerland, began her bizarre quest to become feline following her husband’s affair when she was 50.
- Cindy Jackson has spent most of her adult life trying to turn herself into a living, breathing Barbie doll. The farm girl from Ohio has had more than 30 operations since moving to London, where she has her own consultancy and has blossomed into a poster child for plastic surgery, even since her Barbie obsession began at age 6. Funnily enough, she has even found a “Ken” to complement her, a fellow plastic addict who now calls himself Miles.
- Sharon Osbourne has spoken openly about her compulsion to change the way she looks. She reportedly has spent more than $150,000 on plastic surgery in a bid to make her legs, breasts, face and bottom look younger.
Plastic surgery is not about making your personal life better, nor is it about getting a better job or changing the way you feel about yourself. It’s about changing the way you look. Real change comes from within yourself, so if you think that going under the knife will revolutionize your life, you may not be a candidate for plastic surgery at all. Think long and hard before making the leap, and have realistic expectations. And quit while you are still you – or, at least, while you still look like you!
*Disclaimer: The information on this website is not intended to substitute for the medical expertise and advice of your healthcare provider. We encourage you to discuss any decisions about treatment or care with an appropriate healthcare provider.