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Plastic surgery has been around for about 100 years, but it’s still the subject of some controversy. Not many people know that plastic surgery was developed after World War I. Soldiers were surviving wounds that were more serious than ever before. Yet there was no specialist who could help repair them.


For example, if someone was missing part of their jaw, they suffered functional and cosmetic issues as a result of that injury. Surgeons collaborated with other specialties to devise new procedures to literally put people back together again. Even today, plastic surgeons must train in all areas of the body. Only general surgeons undergo similarly rigorous training. Plastic surgeons still do important work like repairing cleft palates in children.


So, plastic surgery isn’t just done for cosmetic issues. But even when it is, there are still some myths about procedures and patients that could stand to be scrutinized. In terms of procedures, there’s a myth that some plastic surgeries don’t work. The best example of this is liposuction. Surgeons know that in liposuction, they’re removing the actual fat cells. They can’t “grow back” and they can’t get bigger. Once fat is suctioned away, it’s gone for good. However, among the public, there’s still a feeling that liposuction just doesn’t work.


Another myth is that plastic surgery causes serious complications. While any surgery can cause complications, plastic surgeries are generally very safe. Where there are complications, they’re usually related to underlying conditions like heart trouble. The procedures and devices used in plastic surgery are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. If an elective procedure is truly unsafe, the FDA doesn’t let it continue to be used for long.


There’s also a myth that minimizes the seriousness of plastic surgery. This myth holds that plastic surgery is a simple makeover. Nothing could be further from the truth. A makeover is about a new haircut and color, or new makeup. Surgery is always serious. Cutting into the body always leaves a mark or scar. With any surgery, there’s a small risk of infection.


As a topic, plastic surgery needs to be treated with respect and understanding. Cosmetic surgeries don’t make someone shallow. And in any case, that’s not all there is to plastic surgery.