Human beings have gone to great lengths to make themselves attractive to members of the opposite sex for thousands of years. Tribes in Africa have extended their ear lobes, or elongated their necks. Women in China used to bind their feet--crippling themselves in the process--to appear beautiful. Western women poured themselves into corsets, often causing damage to their internal organs, for the sake of beauty. High heels are linked to back problems as well as foot problems. Yet the search for beauty and eternal youth continues, and today, modern technology has brought the medical profession into the issue. Fat can be literally sucked out of the body, body parts can be reduced or enlarged through surgery, and wrinkles can be erased. Where cosmetic surgery was once the near-exclusive purview of women, men are turning to surgical procedures in increasing numbers. There are, however, costs to such modification, and these costs extend well beyond the financial. This research argues against the indiscriminate use of cosmetic surgery.
One of the main arguments against cosmetic surgery is the cost, and the fact that surgery performed for cosmetic purposes only is often not covered by insurance ("The Money's," 2003). This means that individuals who undergo the procedure must pay for the surgery "out of pocket," diverting resources from other areas of their lives. Depending on the procedure, costs can extend in the tens of thousands of dollars, and some who undergo these procedures do so by incurring additional debt. This is at a time when Americans are already significantly over-extended with regard to their credit, and when bankruptcies continue to be filed at a high rate.
Another argument against elective cosmetic surgery is that the long-term effects of the surgery are not always known. As an example, silicone breast implants that were popular in the 1970s and 1980s