A link to a recent interview from ABC News appeared in The Huffington Post featuring Cindy Jackson, a 55-year-old woman who holds the Guinness world record for the highest number of cosmetic surgery procedures performed on her body.
She has had a total of 52 procedures, 14 operations requiring general anesthesia, including five facelifts, liposuction, breast augmentation, two eyelid surgeries, two nose jobs and even a procedure to make her hands look more youthful. She stated that she is redefining what aging means and has transformed herself to look better. She claimed to have the "technical formula" to achieve beauty and a willful surgical plan to stay young and beautiful. She calls herself a trailblazer. The video clip catalogued the changes in her face over the years. Interestingly enough, this articulate, intelligent woman actually looked quite reasonable, and did look younger than her stated age of 55.
My concern involves her impact upon women, especially younger girls. She is a terrible role model. I make my living as a plastic surgeon, and I do believe that cosmetic surgery performed on the right person for the right reason is acceptable. However, five facelifts to achieve proper "symmetry" is absurd. Let's presume that she started having her facelifts at age 40; that amounts to a facelift every three years! The bottom line is each cosmetic operation or procedure carries specific risks that can be extremely harmful. These complications include nerve injury, bleeding, poor scarring, infection, unsatisfactory results and even death. Multiply the risk factors for each operation or procedure times the number of surgeries performed on her, and this equals a much higher chance of serious injury or untoward event.
It was disturbing to me that there were so many comments posted conceding how good she looked, younger than 55 and reasonably normal. That makes me nervous. The wrong message is being sent. The reality is that too many cosmetic surgery procedures lead to an unnatural, unattractive appearance. She is extremely lucky to look as normal as she does and not look like many of the walking plastic surgery caricatures who have gone over the deep end in search of the fountain of youth or inappropriate changes in appearance.
Take Heidi Montag as an example. This very pretty, young actress agreed to undergo 10 different operations or procedures at the same setting because she was concerned that she did not stand out in Hollywood, where competition is fierce. According to her plastic surgeon, she wanted that "va va voom" appeal! She had breast augmentation (DDD implants!), brow lift, nose job revision, liposuction of her stomach and thighs, butt augmentation, ears pinned back, chin reduction, neck liposuction, fat injections into her face, and Botox injections into her face. Count them, 10 operations or procedures at one time!
One year later, she had severe regrets! She was quoted in an interview stating, "Parts of my body definitely look worse than they did pre-surgery." She went on to say, "This is not what I signed up for!" Her complications included unsightly scars, uneven body parts, bald spots on her scalp, lumpy legs and uneven, enormous breasts.
She has received lots of attention, unfortunately all of it negative! It had a deleterious effect on her career, and she will never look the same. Cindy Jackson may argue that she chose a longer, more careful and circuitous route with regard to her numerous operations, but she is fortunate that she turned out as well as she did.
I am not trying to criticize Cindy Jackson, and I respect her choice to do what she wants to her body. She seems perfectly content and satisfied with her decisions and final result. However, is this the final result? How many more operations will Ms. Jackson undergo to continue her pursuit of beauty and youthfulness? When will she go too far and look ridiculous?
Everyone must realize that cosmetic surgery is not the final answer to beauty and youthfulness. It is a combination of physical and mental traits that mesh together to make each and every one of us beautiful in our own way. The endless pursuit of elective surgery to satisfy every whim is simply unhealthy and unwise. Learn to love yourself and you will end up paying less money to people like me!
"She got her looks from her father. He's a plastic surgeon"
* * * * *
Follow Robert Tornambe, M.D. on Twitter: www.twitter.com/RobertMTornambe