Article Date: 04 Jun 2007 – 0:00 PDT
I don’t think of myself as a vain person. I never look in the mirror and hate what I see, nor do I want to really change anything about my appearance — with the exception of losing the typical 10 to 15 pounds. The option of plastic surgery had never even entered my mind. But after my visit to Dr. Shervin Naderi, I look at myself a little differently.
Naderi is a board-certified facial plastic surgeon at the Dulles Cosmetic Surgery and Skin Care Center in Sterling. I met with him a couple of weeks ago and asked him what he would change about my appearance.
He took some photos and plugged them into an imaging system that he used to morph my face to see how I would look after surgery. The results – barely noticeable to the naked eye but obvious to me – give me something that I now look at in the mirror and, for a moment, ponder changing.
The field of plastic surgery began in the 19th century and since then has been a growing specialty, one that has recently become more mainstream both in the entertainment industry and in society.
Once, plastic surgery was something the rich would undergo and never admit to. Now, in some places it is a status symbol – something to show off.
“In the last five to eight years, plastic surgery has become less taboo,” says Naderi.
In Loudoun County alone, plastic surgeries have increased by 228 percent from the year 2000 to 2004.
So the question becomes: Has the world of entertainment — with all of its reality plastic surgery shows — moved these surgical procedures into the mainstream, or is television merely reflecting reality?
“If people weren’t interested [in plastic surgery], it wouldn’t be on TV,” says Naderi. “It helps and hurts. It’s a double-edged sword.”
Some patients have sought out plastic surgeons because of what they see on television, but Naderi says the majority of the time that is not the case.
Dr. David Berman, a plastic surgeon with expertise in breast and body augmentation, works in partnership with Naderi. He believes plastic surgery is becoming more common, but not necessarily because of its popularity in the entertainment industry.
“It is getting more popular,” says Berman. “There is more acceptance. It is safer and more affordable. I don’t have people coming in with ‘famous face’ wants. If they did, I would be worried. What makes a person who they are is more than their features.”
Two months ago, two women who work in Loudoun County underwent some plastic surgery procedures, but not because they saw a reality TV show or because they want to look like a certain celebrity. They did it for themselves.
Although happy with the results, neither woman has told co-workers, or even family, about her procedure. They asked that I not use their real names.
When she was a child, “Martha” loved to draw cheekbones. Now in her 40s, she decided to get some cheekbones of her own. While she was at it, she threw in a new chin and lost some fat and wrinkles.
“I wasn’t dissatisfied [with my appearance],” says Martha. “I just had the time and opportunity to get it done.”
“Mine was a long decision,” says Angela, who is in her 30s. “I prayed about it. I saw a lot of surgeons but never felt comfortable. When I found Dr. Naderi, it just fit.”
The recovery process was somewhat easy for both women – nevertheless, the healing process varies from patient to patient. Postsurgery was not as painful as they expected, and what is left of the swelling is barely noticeable.
In about eight years, when Martha turns 50, she will get more work done to keep her youthful appearance, while Angela is hoping to age “gracefully.”
I, on the other hand, am coming up on the age when plastic surgery is more sought after – the 30-to-40 age bracket.