It has been a strained week for the cosmetic surgery industry.
A UK plastic surgeon is being sued for £54 million by a patient for a facelift gone wrong.
A young british woman dies after travelling to American to have injections to enlarge her buttocks in a hotel room.
Diane Abbott, the young woman's local MP hits out at the cosmetic surgery industry and claims '“There are too many ‘makeover’ shows that imply plastic surgery is as simple as cutting your hair....In fact, it is a potentially life-threatening procedure, which should not be embarked on at too young an age without proper medical counselling. It is important we understand why young girls feel pressurised to have cosmetic surgery"
Susie Orbach writes in The Times, Friday February 11, "cosmetic surgery is a menace to society". She started writing on these issues back in the 1970s and "Is it depressing to still be writing about this subject 30 years on?". "Wouldn't it be great if these surgeons could focus their time on reconstructing bodies after cancer and burns, rather than on an industry that makes millions out of pointless body hatred?"
I am equally proud to call myself either a cosmetic or reconstructive surgeon as I feel that both aspects of my work has brought immense happiness and positve changes to my patients lives. I think both Ms Abbot and Ms Orbach have missed the point if they are trying to stem the tide of cosmetic procedures. As we have evolved over the ages from wearing leaves and animal furs to modern fashionable clothings, it is no longer about necessity but about a better life. We now live in an evolved society where it is important to feel confident in ourselves, to fit in, enjoy going to work, socialise, find love and for some procreate. It is about the right to choose.
Most people, like Ms Abbott and Ms Orbach, are fortunate and comfortable in their given body. Some would like to have something done but chose not to act on it. A minority chose to have something done because they have decided that it will improve their quality of life. This is their choice.
It would be ideal if policy makers like Ms Abbott could make choices easier by laying down clear and strict regulations on who should be carrying out the procedures and where. Pointing patients in the right direction where they will receive appropriate counselling and assessment before they proceed with surgery or be refused surgery will certainly address her concerns.
It would also help if people in the media like Ms Orbach can use their very influential medium to educate people that cosmetic procedures are medical treatments and cosmetic surgery are surgeries with all its attendant possible risks. Her industry needs to heed Ms Orbachs point about not trivializing the nature of cosmetic surgery especially in the widely viewed makeover programmes.
If people chose to have a cosmetic procedure, they need to do the necessary research about the procedure, the practitioner and the clinic. It can make all the difference between a tragic outcome like the above mentioned incident in America or a positive change as experienced by millions of people in the world every day because they have made the right choice