the conversation

Cosmetic surgery is a highly contested topic; some put it on par with self-mutilation and a psychosis, while others believe it's just another means to achieving emotional well-being.

According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, more than 11 million surgical and nonsurgical cosmetic procedures were undertaken in 2013 alone. Since 1997, there has been a 279% increase in the total number of cosmetic procedures.

Is this recent surge of surgery due to the ubiquity of medical advancements and lower costs of procedures, or are societal pressures surrounding beauty/body image shifting and intensifying?

To explore these complicated notions of self-perception and modification we asked those closest to the knife's edge—from psychologists and plastic surgeons to those who chose cosmetic surgery—to weigh-in on this question.

Here's what they had to say.

I've Had Two Cosmetic Surgery Procedures—And My Relationship With Them Is Complicated 

When I lost sensitivity in my breasts and my husband didn’t show excitement about the augmentation, I got a little insecure.
Submitted by Larissa | 11.24.14 3pm

I'm Happy With My Plastic Surgery—But Not Happy Because Of It

My decision to fix my nose was mine alone. I didn’t feel peer pressure or that I would look awful for the rest of my life without getting it fixed.
Submitted by Amanda Lauren | 11.12.14 5pm

Technological Innovation Has Changed The Cosmetic Surgery Game

Along with technological advances in the field, the last decades have brought about a major shift in attitudes toward plastic surgery.
Submitted by Dr. Kimberly Henry | 11.10.14 5pm

Why I'm Worried About Cosmetic Surgery's Rising Popularity

No doubt there are times when cosmetic surgery provides life-changing experiences. But I oppose surgery that promotes homogenized beauty.
Submitted by Dr. Vivian Diller | 11.10.14 5pm

For Many, Cosmetic Surgery Can Be A Positive Life Changer

Unfortunately, all too often the media presents the most obscene in aesthetic plastic surgery.
Submitted by Dr. Stephen Ronan | 11.10.14 4pm

Plastic Surgery Patients Are Not Given The Respect They Deserve 

Since man and woman first saw their face in a pool of water, body image has been an integral, inexorable element within the psyche of humankind.
Submitted by Dr. Lorne King Rosenfield | 11.10.14 2pm
Ana and Nayara

Cosmetic Surgery Gave Us Freedom And Confidence

Before the surgery, buying bikinis, bras or even a top was torment. Nothing would fit properly, I was always uncomfortable, and I suffered from low self-esteem.
Submitted by Ana Paula Mello and Nayara Leandro | 11.9.14 6pm