“Awful Plastic Surgery. The Demonization of Plastic Surgeons. The Patients Who Must Live as Mutants in the Limelight.”
We have been seeing scary stories like this trending in the media recently, instead of dwelling on the wonders and masterpieces of plastic surgery.
Over the Memorial Day weekend, Rob Lowe played an overly tightened plastic surgeon (looking ghoulishly like Michael Jackson) in the HBO special “Behind the Candelabra” directed by Steven Soderbergh. However, you can barely recognize him. Liberace, a well-known plastic surgery aficionado, is at one point portrayed as unable to close his eyes due to over-corrected eyelid surgery.
Meanwhile, Olympic Champion Bruce Jenner recently took to the airwaves to confront Jimmy Fallon for all of the jokes he’s made on his late night talk show about Jenner’s bad plastic surgery.
And celebrities are not the only ones making plastic surgery news.
This Oklahoma man now needs to breathe through a straw after multiple nasal surgeries performed by a surgeon in Tulsa. He has taken his dramatic story public, along with serious allegations against the surgeon that he’s also taken to court.
Here’s the trouble with this story: the surgeon cannot defend himself or air his side of the story, due to privacy laws mandated by the U.S. government. It leaves the case in the court of public opinion.
There’s news about bad plastic surgery everywhere in the media. These stories will run their course through this “media cycle.” It works like this: first you are fascinated by the wonderful things that a treatment, or procedure can do. That makes for a great media story. Lives transformed for the better. Then something comes out—a bad result, a terrible side effect—and the media can grab onto it by showing the tragic outcome of a procedure gone wrong.
At W Cosmetic Surgery, we contend that plastic surgery in the right hands is a wonderful, transformative thing, barring any of the horrendous complications that can occur to any patient or any surgeon during surgery (which are exceedingly rare, but do occur), and to the vagaries of healing. Infections, scarring, hemorrhage—these plague all surgeons and any patients who undergoes surgery, whether it is a knee, a cataract, or a rhinoplasty.
For patients, surgery is not to be taken lightly, and it is the responsibility of the surgeon to make sure that the patient understands the risks involved. This is the essence of the doctor patient relationship—the decision before the incision, and then continued, sensible follow-up to assure an aethestically pleasing outcome.
When I look at some of the freakish and bizarre outcomes, I ask myself the questions that all surgeons that compulsively monitor their outcomes should:
- Have any of these people tried to correct their overdone, over pulled faces?
- Have they gone to the same doctor that tried in the first place and articulated their dissatisfaction?
- Can they be helped by appropriate intervention?
For the most part, the answer to the last question is yes; but not always. The best surgery, in my view, is when the surgeon strives for a conservative correction, or strives to improve, not to eliminate wrinkles, or bags. Good cosmetic surgery sets the clock back a few years—you may need to keep up with it because you continue to age and time marches on relentlessly. Bad cosmetic surgery lasts forever.