Our preoccupation with how we look seems to be spiraling ever higher, at least if you consider the new array of procedures that plastic surgeons are devising. From our earlobes to our calves, the business of cosmetic surgery is booming. Or perhaps, we should say, bulging.
There's “boot bulge” surgery, for example, which has taken off in popularity among women whose large calves make it difficult to zip up tight-fitting boots, according to reports. Of course, that's not to be confused with the “booty bulge” procedure that is trending among those in pursuit of a bigger bottom line. In fact, the number of people having fat transferred from other parts of the body and into the buttocks and hips rose 58% between 2012 and 2013, the Associated Press recently reported.
Perhaps your problem area is a bit smaller. Take the issue of drooping ear lobes, which some are adding to their list of concerns about growing older. “Youthful ears have volume. My earrings look like they're sitting on a pillow,” one patient told ABC News about why she opted for “eartox” surgery, which uses fillers to plump up aging lobes.
Americans underwent more than 15 million cosmetic procedures and spent $12.6 billion in 2013, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons says. Its 2013 report details everything from upper arm lifts to cheek implants.
There are many reasons people seek cosmetic procedures, but they may not be generating the happiness people expect. “We have become a 'fix it' culture, one that is increasingly using surgical solutions to avoid living with imperfections. Yet, imperfections are a part of real life,” says Vivian Diller, a New York City psychologist and author of the 2010 book “Face It: What Women Really Feel as Their Looks Change.” Sometimes surgery is a reasonable solution that can be life-altering in a positive way.
“But a good psychological evaluation of every patient is key to the ultimate satisfaction,” she says.