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Plastic Surgery Myths: 10 Common Misconceptions

Plastic Surgery Myths

Over the past 30 years, plastic surgery has become more common, but it’s still an area rife with misconceptions. Armchair experts in public conversations often make assertions about plastic surgery that simply aren’t true—and with no experts around to correct them or provide more information, these myths and bad perceptions often spread and grow worse.

At Sieber Plastic Surgery in San Francisco, one of our top priorities is keeping people as informed as possible with accurate, scientifically backed, and straightforward facts. That’s why we’ve assembled this list of common plastic surgery misconceptions that need to go away.

The Most Common Misconceptions About Plastic Surgery

Myths About Plastic SurgeryThese are some of the most pervasive plastic surgery myths and misconceptions:

  1. Plastic surgery is for rich people. It’s tempting to imagine plastic surgery as an option only for the wealthy elite; after all, some surgical procedures can cost tens of thousands of dollars. However, if all cosmetic and plastic surgery was unattainably expensive, the industry wouldn’t be thriving the way it is. In fact, the majority of people obtaining plastic surgery in the modern era are middle class, with a moderate amount of disposable income. This is partially because the costs of cosmetic and plastic surgery are coming down, and partially because more plastic surgeons are offering flexible financing options.
  2. Plastic surgery is for women. It’s true that the majority of cosmetic procedures are performed on women. However, cosmetic surgery isn’t for women alone; in 2017, there were more than 3 million cosmetic procedures performed on men. Increasingly, men are turning to cosmetic surgery to improve their confidence and self-perception.
  3. Plastic surgery is an exercise in vanity. This is another one of the common myths about cosmetic surgery. When you hear about someone getting a breast augmentation procedure or a nose reconstruction, you’ll be tempted to think of them as vain—as spending money only to improve how they look to other people. But patient satisfaction surveys reveal that aesthetic plastic surgery is often associated with a much higher quality of life; people are more confident in themselves, and better able to enjoy their lives. Many people don’t that there are many patients who undergo reconstructive surgery following breast cancer. After breast cancer a breast augmentation with breast implants can help patients feel more like their old self again. Helping breast cancer survivors feel like their old selves is an important reason for breast augmentation with breast implants, and plastic surgery more broadly.
  4. Botox is a dangerous substance. Botox gets a bad name because it’s technically a toxin secreted by a specific strain of bacteria. In high doses, Botox can cause a variety of complications. However, in the tiny doses used for mainstream cosmetic procedures, Botox injections are some of the lowest-risk procedures available. As long as your doctor is experienced and handles the substance correctly, there’s very little risk. In fact, Botox is used for a variety of non-cosmetic medical needs, including treating lazy eye, chronic migraines, and bladder disfunction.
  5. The recovery period is intense. Most people believe that recovering from plastic surgery is a veritable nightmare. But thanks to modern advances in surgical procedures, anesthesia, and pain control, patients of many plastic surgery procedures are able to get back to their daily routines in a few short weeks, and without much pain. Additionally, instances of nausea, vomiting, and related negative side effects are much lower than they used to be.
  6. All cosmetic surgeons are plastic surgeons. Plastic surgeons are, by definition, physicians who have gone through many years of focused training, and have become certified and recognized as plastic surgeons; they are usually a part of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) as well. Sometimes, doctors who are board certified in other specialties will venture into cosmetic surgery; they will often have fewer years of experience or less education than their formally trained counterparts.
  7. Plastic surgery leaves no scars. Modern plastic surgery procedures are designed to be as minimally invasive and refined as possible. However, it’s almost impossible to complete a surgical procedure with no visible scarring whatsoever. Plastic surgeons make efforts to make scarring as small, hidden, and unnoticeable as possible, but there will almost always be some kind of residual mark. This of course depends on what kind of plastic surgery one is undergoing. The scars for breast implants will be different than those for a tummy tuck or laser hair removal.
  8. Plastic surgery will last forever. This is one of the understandable myths about plastic surgery. Most plastic surgery procedures are designed and executed with longevity in mind; they can and will last you many years. However, they will not completely resist or prevent the effects of aging, and may decline in quality or effectiveness over time. Accordingly, there are some cosmetic procedures that will require you to get periodic “touch-ups.” Breast implants are an example of a procedure that requires periodic maintenance. Make sure to talk to your plastic surgeon about the possibilities here.
  9. Plastic surgery is dangerous. When it first emerged as an option, some plastic surgery procedures were noticeably risky. But over the years, we’ve collected an incredible amount of information. Our access to equipment, facilities, and resources have improved, and plastic surgeons are better trained and better capable. These days, most plastic surgery procedures are completed with zero complications. Many laser treatments, for example, are overwhelmingly safe with an easy recovery period.
  10. Plastic surgery is totally risk-free. That said, there’s an opposing misconception that all forms of plastic surgery are inherently safe and risk-free. Certain procedures are safer than others, but no matter what, any kind of surgical procedure is going to carry some risks. Your plastic surgeon will be able to educate you about the specific risks you face with a given procedure. You can also decrease your risks by doing your due diligence, and ensuring that your plastic surgeon is qualified to perform this procedure.

How to Challenge Your Assumptions

Myths About Cosmetic SurgeryThese aren’t the only misconceptions that continue to circulate in regard to plastic surgery, and if you’re considering having a procedure done, there are likely personal assumptions you hold that aren’t necessarily true. It’s your responsibility to challenge your assumptions and work to learn more about the topic.

You can start by acknowledging that plastic surgery has changed a lot over the years, and what was true even just a few years ago may not be true any longer. From there, you can start doing research with reputable surgeons and plastic surgery organizations to get the facts.

Questions and Answers

What are the arguments against plastic surgery?

Health hazards: Complications arising from surgery and adverse reactions to anesthesia or other drugs. Psychological risks: Possible discontentment with outcomes and susceptibility to developing mental health disorders. Financial strain: Encompasses upfront surgical expenses and potential future costs for corrective procedures.

Why avoid plastic surgery?

The primary concern associated with undergoing a plastic surgery procedure is the potential for medical complications that may occur post-operation. Other risks of plastic surgery may encompass unforeseen reactions to anesthesia and the development of infections.

What are the negatives of plastic surgery?

Plastic surgeries may also foster unrealistic ideals of beauty, resulting in feelings of letdown and discontentment with the cosmetic procedure’s results. This can have detrimental effects on self-esteem, potentially triggering feelings of depression and anxiety.

Book Your Consultation

If you’re interested in learning more about a specific plastic surgery procedure like Eyelid Surgery (blepharoplasty), or if you’re ready for your first consultation, contact us today! We’ll teach you everything you need to know about your chosen procedure, and make sure you feel comfortable before proceeding.


  1. https://www.plasticsurgery.org/
  2. https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/botox/about/pac-20384658
  3. https://www.plasticsurgery.org/news/press-releases/men-turn-to-plastic-surgeons-for-a-better-body-image-and-more-confidence-at-every-age

Dr. Dave Sieber and his staff are so awesome! Dr. Sieber is personable yet professional, his work is impeccable. He listens to his patient and works with them to achieve what they want. He’s like my hair dresser, a magician, you just want to do a happy dance with the results, only these results are lasting. Ok, but seriously, the procedure was very smooth, the staff and the doctors (Dr Sieber and the anesthesiologist) had great communication and made sure I was comfortable with very clear and concise pre op and post op directions. The healing process was very easy and the results are FABULOUS. Side note, Dr. Sieber has really awesome skin, I feel like this is impressive and important because really, would you trust a dentist with bad teeth? I am so elated and satisfied with the results, the size is perfect and they look and feel very natural. They are exactly what I wanted.*

SF Scientist

Dr. Sieber is a doctor who is not only extremely knowledgeable about the latest in cosmetic procedures, but a doctor who truly cares about his patients. I highly recommend him!*


Dr. Sieber is a doctor who is not only extremely knowledgeable about the latest in cosmetic procedures, but a doctor who truly cares about his patients. I highly recommend him!*


Dr. Sieber is attentive, responsive, and well trained. I had seen him for Botox and filler and he had done both without any pain or bruising and more importantly the results were fabulous. He has met with me on time at each appointment. He communicates what to expect, made sure I was comfortable throughout the procedure, checked on my healing every day post procedure. He couldn’t be more delightful not more talented. I had seen other plastic surgeons for in office treatments over the past decade and Dr. Sieber is at the top of the list in terms of delivering the desired outcome and high quality care.*

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