How Cosmetic Surgery Can Improve Athletic Performance

Cosmetic surgery might seem like only something celebrities or those with enough funds elect to have done. But these procedures are increasingly common among professional and amateur athletes, too. That’s because like any other patient, an athlete can benefit from some of the most popular cosmetic procedures athletes such as breast augmentation, liposuction, rhinoplasty, and facelifts.

As with anything, there are mixed reviews about athletes getting cosmetic surgery. That’s mostly because when the general public thinks about these kinds of procedures, their minds immediately go to butt-lifts or breast augmentation. Like many other people who elect to have a cosmetic procedure, athletes typically go under the knife because they want to improve something about their physical appearance and live a more fulfilled life. 

Still, surgery of any kind can affect athletic performance depending on the type of procedure and the athlete having it done. Even with the healing time considered, surgery typically can improve an athlete’s performance if it addresses underlying medical conditions or injuries. In other cases, surgery can have negative impacts like pain or limiting an athlete’s range of motion.  

Athletes Who Have Had Cosmetic Surgery

When you think about people who have had plastic surgery, your mind might go to any of the Real Housewives or other celebrities in the public eye. But several athletes have reportedly had cosmetic procedures, too. 

According to The Sportster, the following athletes have gone under the knife to have cosmetic surgery:

  • Wes Welker: The football player had cosmetic dental surgery after a car accident. 
  • Nick Diaz: The MMA fighter had surgery on existing scarring. 
  • Sasa Curcic: The soccer player had surgery on his nose after experiencing difficulty breathing. 
  • Mark Lamb: The NHL player had several cosmetic dental procedures throughout his career. 
  • Didier Drogba: The soccer player had cosmetic dental surgery to repair his teeth after a collision on the field. 
  • Rich “Ace” Franklin: The UFC champion had surgery on his nose after a match. 
  • Evander Holyfield: The fighter had surgery on his ear after Mike Tyson infamously bit it during a match. 
  • Simona Halep: The tennis player had surgery on her breasts after experiencing back pain.
  • Dwayne Johnson: The former wrestler-turned-actor had liposuction on his chest in the past. 
  • Colin White: The hockey player had surgery on his nose after suffering an injury on the ice. 

Whether it’s for improving their athletic performance, altering their aesthetic, or treating any previous injury, many athletes today go through a variety of surgeries

Types of Cosmetic Surgeries Popular With Athletes 

Various cosmetic surgeries are requested by athletes depending on their prior injuries and personal needs. Most importantly, the procedures they have done typically align with their career goals and overall health. Below are some of the most common cosmetic procedures among athletes. 

Breast Augmentation 

Female athletes may elect to undergo breast augmentation surgery so they can feel more comfortable, especially if they have lost weight, experienced pregnancy, or are or were previously breastfeeding. Most of the time, large breasts impact how an athlete plays. Having breast tissue reduced can be beneficial to a female athlete’s career. 


Liposuction removes stubborn pockets of fat that are resistant to diet and exercise. It can help achieve a more toned and defined physique, especially among athletes who compete in bodybuilding or gymnastics. Most of the time, liposuction offers patients a quick recovery, especially when compared to more invasive surgeries. 


Another common plastic surgery among athletes is rhinoplasty. This can help athletes breathe better or repair damage to a previously broken nose, especially among those who play basketball, football, or hockey. In some cases, an athlete may elect to have rhinoplasty surgery to address the physical appearance of their nose, too, especially after a brutal injury that leaves it disfigured. 

Things To Consider Before Undergoing Surgery as an Athlete 

Anyone thinking about getting a cosmetic procedure should carefully weigh the pros and cons first. Athletes, however, have extra considerations to evaluate, especially if their surgery interferes with their training and performance. 

Recovery Time 

As with any surgery, recovery time should be considered. In many cases, healing can take several weeks or months to recover fully, depending on the type of surgery you have. In an athlete’s case, this time can impact their season, contract, or other agreements, especially if they play at the professional level. 

In the worst cases, a cosmetic procedure can go wrong and drastically impact an athlete’s career. When this happens, they may not be able to play in their profession again. While rare, it’s something worth considering before undergoing major plastic surgery. 

Long-term Side Effects 

Cosmetic surgery can come with long-term effects that can impact an athlete’s career. For example, sometimes procedures like breast implants require additional surgeries in 10 to 20 years. Anyone considering surgery should also think about the ways the procedure could affect their bodies as they age, especially athletes if they plan to continue to compete. 

Mental health is another thing that can be impacted long-term. In some cases, athletes may have unrealistic expectations about the results of the surgery or may be using it as a way to cope with underlying psychological issues.

There are other factors to consider before electing to have cosmetic surgery, regardless of whether or not you’re an athlete. Those considerations include: 

  • Scarring.
  • Blood clots or blood loss.
  • Potential anesthesia complications.
  • Fluid build-up. 
  • Infection.
  • Nerve damage.

Anyone electing to have cosmetic surgery should review these impacts before moving forward with the procedure. 

Public Opinion

The opinion of the public should be another thing athletes consider before surgery. Some people might understand why they chose to undergo cosmetic surgery while others may view it as vain or unnecessary, which can impact their overall mental health. The public’s opinion can impact other facets of an athlete’s career including merchandise sales, sponsorships, and more. 

However, even if an athlete wants cosmetic surgery purely for aesthetic purposes, they have the freedom to make that choice. After careful consideration of the risks and benefits, athletes are free to do with their bodies as they please — just like the rest of us.