Is Plastic Surgery Ethical?


Given the surge of reality television that exaggerates the horrors of plastic surgery gone wrong, you may be wondering, is plastic surgery ethical?

Obviously, nothing is perfect. There are always going to be crooked people who take advantage of vulnerable populations.

But if you’re considering reconstructive or cosmetic surgery, take the time to research your plastic surgeon and ensure that he or she is board-certified and experienced. That way, you can be almost certain that you’re dealing with an ethical doctor.

Reconstructive Vs. Cosmetic Surgery

Both reconstructive and cosmetic surgery fall under the umbrella of plastic surgery. Almost no one questions the validity of reconstructive surgery. Correcting an abnormality as the result of a birth defect, accident, surgery, or injury has always been socially acceptable. Particularly when it affects the functioning of the body.

The validity of cosmetic surgery, however, has long been debated and discussed. Even though it aims to also fix body imperfections, it is considered elective surgery -regardless of whether the anomaly is congenital or the result of illness.

For many decades, people felt that cosmetic surgery merely addressed vanity. The overriding belief was that people should just accept these imperfections and/or “age gracefully.”

This stance on cosmetic surgery is no longer the viewpoint throughout the medical industry or even society at large.

More Than Just Changing Appearance

In the last decade, psychology has emerged demonstrating that physical appearance can play heavily on one’s levels of self-esteem, confidence, and overall well-being.

Where it gets tricky is that some patients believe that cosmetic surgery will magically transform them to meet a specific criteria as dictated by society. Many don’t understand that these standards need to be adjusted for body proportions, age, and skin color.

An ethical surgeon will disclose this; stating as clearly and fully as possible every risk. Even those that are rare. He or she will also be clear about what the patient can realistically expect from the procedure rather than making false promises in order to get the job.

So Then When Is Plastic Surgery Ethical, And When Is It Not?

One of the biggest factors a plastic surgeon needs to consider is the psychological state of the patient. It’s one thing to help a patient feel better about him/herself by performing a procedure like a tummy tuck or a face lift. It’s another, altogether, to agree to perform a procedure on someone who is clearly in mental distress.

For example, if a patient comes in requesting multiple procedures in order to look exactly like a current celebrity. Or if a patient is clearly struggling with anorexia and is looking for a fat removal procedure.

So it’s clear that ethical plastic surgery involves a quest for complete psychophysical well-being from the patient. The objective is to create a fluid and peaceful coexistence between a patient’s outer and inner beauty. And that’s no easy feat.

If there is question of instability on any level, it is the surgeon’s responsibly to perform a full and careful evaluation. An ethical surgeon (and this includes most plastic surgeons) will do just that. If the patient proves to be mentally balanced, possibilities and limitations will be discussed, along with cost-benefit ratio. Only once the surgeon is confident of the patient’s mental and physical states and the patient has fully consented will the surgery be scheduled.

Cosmetic Surgery Delivers The Whole Package

Are you considering cosmetic surgery but are still struggling to answer the question, is plastic surgery ethical? We understand. Cosmetic surgery has gotten something of a bad wrap for a long time.

Contact us today to put your mind at ease.

During your free consultation with our board-certified plastic surgeons, you’ll see how fully we grasp that there’s a wider notion of health that goes beyond merely the physical. With each patient, we address the whole person so you’ll feel confident and sure about your decision.