For nearly the past two decades, full lips have been all the rage thanks to celebrities like Angelina Jolie, whose famous mouth singlehandedly changed the Hollywood standard of beauty and paved the way for fuller-lipped women to make their mark on the beauty world. The pursuit of the perfect pout has become a global obsession that spans age, race and even gender. From fillers to implants to over the counter products that promise bee-stung or plump lips, adding volume to the lips has been a costly pursuit. A recent report by InStyle magazine claims that women spend an average of $1750 just on lipstick over the course of a lifetime. According to Seventeen Magazine, one popular volumizing lip kit that retails for $27 continues to sell out and is now fetching over $1000 on secondary sites like eBay. With all that devotion to creating the perfect full lip, a new trend in plastic surgery is causing quite a stir: lip reduction. Lip reductions are one of the fastest-growing trends in plastic surgery right now. But it's a trend that plastic surgeons like Dr. Carlos Pou of Instituto Orbitofacial in San Juan, Puerto Rico are cautioning patients to think long and hard about before undergoing.
If you’re like most people, you probably have one or two things you’d like to change about your face or body. In fact, even the most beautiful people have things they wish they could change. Maybe you wish you had bigger breasts or a smaller nose, or that you had whiter teeth or fuller lips. For most people, the desire for this type of minor change is just a healthy aspiration, and not cause for concern. But for a small portion of the population with Body Dysmorphic Disorder, the focus on "flaws" can be a dangerous obsession- an obsession that surgeons like Dr. Carlos Pou of San Juan, Puerto Rico are increasingly recognizing in potential patients.
Body Dysmorphic Disorder, or BDD is a severe psychiatric disorder wherein a person fixates on one or more aspects of their appearance that they perceive as flaws. These flaws may be real, or in some cases their severity may be greatly exaggerated or not existent at all. According to a study published in the February 2017 issue of the journal Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery, entitled Cosmetic Professionals Awareness of Body Dysmorphic Disorder researchers found that approximately two percent of the population suffers from BDD, but that number is far more prevalent in the plastic surgery world. In fact, surgeons like Pou estimate that upwards of 10-15 percent of patients seeking plastic surgery could be suffering from this dangerous disorder.
So, how does a surgeon know if a patient has BDD, and what should a surgeon do if he or she suspects a case of BDD? According to Pou, the answer isn’t always clear.
"Patients with BDD often hide it very well from plastic surgeons." Pou said.
With tax refund season upon us, many Americans are suddenly finding themselves flush with extra cash. For some, this surprise windfall will be used towards dream vacations, home renovations, or paying down credit card debt. For an increasing number of others, this year’s tax refund will be used towards another kind of renovation project: plastic surgery. But, while some are fortunate enough to have this found-money to use on surgical procedures, an increasingly large portion of the population is going into debt for the same procedures. Dr. Carlos Pou of Instituto Orbitofacial in San Juan, Puerto Rico discusses the best way to pay for your plastic surgery procedure this spring.
For some people, tax season is the real ‘most wonderful time of the year.’ Knowing you’ve got a big refund headed your way can make the stress of filing your taxes worth it. With a newly-padded bank account and spring break and summer just around the corner, tax refund season is also the perfect time to schedule a plastic surgery procedure. However, for those who’ve had less fortunate dealings with the tax-man this time of year, funding those special procedures may require some extra creativity.
A recent report by MarketWatch found that more men than ever before are going into serious debt to obtain plastic surgery procedures. Everything from credit card debt, to surgery loans through their surgeon’s office, to early 401k cash-ins, to home equity loans are being used to fund these procedures. But these loans can come at a high cost- with many charging upwards of 30 percent interest- and putting patients at risk of losing their home if the debt is not satisfied. So, is it worth the risk to finance a plastic surgery procedure? Or should patients wait years or even decades to save money and pay cash for these procedures? Pou believes the answer lies somewhere in between.
"If you can easily afford to make payments on your procedure without having to struggle to make ends meet in the meantime, then I see nothing wrong with financing," he said. "But if you are already maxed-out, and living paycheck-to-paycheck, you may want to reconsider the timing of your procedure."
Pou says the best way to fund any procedure is obviously cash, but for those who don’t want to wait to save up the funds required for their surgery, he advises patients to do their research.
"Just as you would with the surgeon and the procedure itself, when it comes to financing your surgery, do your research." Pou said.
He recommends prior to financing your procedure, speak with a financial advisor, accountant, or use a free budget calculator app or website to figure out how much you can afford to pay each month. This will prevent you from taking on too much debt, and allow you a safety net for months you may have otherwise needed to miss a payment.
"Everyone wants to look and feel their best- but you won’t be feeling your best if you ruin your credit or lose your home over a debt you can’t afford to pay," Pou said. "Of course, we want to treat you, but not at the cost of lowering your quality of life. These procedures will still be here when you’re ready for them, and you’ll enjoy your results a lot more if you aren’t constantly stressed out over how to pay for them."