My next consult was with Dr. David Shafer, just a few blocks away. His office reminded me of my regular doctor’s office… minus all the injectables ads.
When I asked Dr. Shafer about the fix-all-of-me approach, his answer was pretty similar to Dr. Zuckerman’s.
“When my patients come in, they’re coming in for a specific thing — or sometimes they’ll come in and say, ‘Dr. Shafer, what should I get done?’” the plastic surgeon and RealSelf contributor said. “And then we kind of go through what bothers them [about their appearance], and then I’ll go through and talk to them about things that can be done.”
What he would never do, he said, is look a patient over and say, “Oh, that’s got to go.”
“So then if I were to come in as a patient and point out my ‘problem areas,’ what would you suggest I do to fix them?” I asked.
Dr. Shafer asked me to show him which areas I considered “problem areas,” and I gestured to my belly, hips, and thighs, which I still sometimes get self-conscious about.
“I mean, it doesn’t look like a big problem. There’s a little fat here,” he said, gesturing to my belly, “but when we do liposuction we don’t take out ALL the fat – you need a thin layer of fat under the skin.”
“One thing that people don’t appreciate is this area right here, there’s fat right here,” he said, pointing to my sides. “You’re a little square right in here, and so by doing liposuction here and here, we can give you more of an hourglass shape, but it really depends if that’s what you’re looking for.”
“And then a lot of people like to see their hip bones right here, and so just by liposuctioning a little bit, you’ll get some contour there,” Dr. Shafer continued. “And then the other thing people don’t think of is the lower back. So by scooping this out a little bit it’ll give you more of this nice shape around the body, and it also enhances the butt. And then you can take all that fat that we just took out, put it in the butt, and you just get a little more. But for someone like you, you would be a good liposuction candidate, but you wouldn’t be a good tummy tuck candidate.”
Some people also opt for liposuction around the knees, which is another area where fat can accumulate, he said. “You don’t have that; you’re nice and thin and in good shape, but some people do.”
When I told my friends what I’d be doing for this article, some expressed concern. “Are you really going to have a couple of plastic surgeons nitpick your body in the name of journalism?” they asked. But as I headed back to the office after my two consultations, I didn’t feel picked apart. In fact, I felt more certain that my body is mine, and while I may never want or “need” plastic surgery, I don’t begrudge those who do opt for these kinds of procedures.
I’m sure there are even some women out there with bodies like mine or noses like mine who would like nothing better than a little lipo, a couple of implants, or a quick rhinoplasty — or who have even been told, by parents or former partners, that this is something they should consider.
There’s always going to be someone out there who finds flaws in the way you look. But whether or not you should change it? Whether or not you decide to love yourself regardless? That’s not something that comes from an operating room.