Plastic Surgery and The Media
Dr. Hsu is a Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon and Reconstructive Microsurgeon providing state of the art cosmetic and reconstruction enhancements.
For Immediate Release: Does the media glorify plastic surgery? Does the media have a positive or negative impact on this medical specialty?
Does the media exalt plastic surgery? Does it exploit the procedures that celebrities have in order to sell copy? Is the general public influenced by the press to have cosmetic surgery that they may not need? Is our fascination with celebrity body modification healthy? These questions revolve around a field of medicine that is unique in that most of the procedures are elective. Unlike other surgeries, men and women, and sometimes youth, volunteer to have plastic surgery. They willingly submit to an anesthetic, surgery and often lengthy recoveries, for the sole purpose of transforming their physical appearance. This is not to say that all plastic surgery is performed for vanity; plastic surgeons use reconstructive surgery on cancer victims, accident victims, and people born with physical defects, with exceptional results, giving people new hope for healthy, normal lives. But the question remains, are we electing to have cosmetic procedures that we may not need in the hopes of achieving beauty, and thereby happiness, from societal and media pressure?
We asked Dr. Patrick Hsu, MD, F.A.C.S., chief of plastic, cosmetic and reconstruction surgery at Memorial Plastic Surgery in Houston, Texas if he thinks the media influences people to consider elective plastic surgery. “There is no doubt that the media, especially online, has an influence on people’s options, not just in the area of plastic surgery, but in virtually every facet of our lives”, the doctor told us. “It stands to reason that the greatest source of information ever, one that is literally at our fingertips, will shape our choices and impressions, including what is perceived as beauty, as well as negative body-image. People also tend to want to imitate the people that they admire most, their ‘heroes’ if you will, and in modern society the people that we follow and strive to emulate are movie stars and sports figures. If we see that these individuals have procedures such as liposuction, for example, that enhance their appearance it follows that we would like to do the same. Just remember that healthy, well adjusted people are often unhappy with some aspect of their appearance, so the seed is already planted for the most part.”
The doctor went on to say that while he has seen definite growth in his industry, he doesn’t believe it is an unhealthy result of media influenced surgery. He believes that the media has actually functioned to make people aware that they do have options when it comes to their appearance and that plastic surgery is accessible to everyone, not just the rich and famous.
Reality shows and gossip magazines have certainly brought an awareness of cosmetic procedures. However, society also plays a role. The struggle for employment has led to an upsurge in facial procedures for older people competing with younger people for work. Some women feel that they would be more attractive to the opposite sex if they had breast augmentation. There is certainly motivation for physical enhancement. Is it the media’s fault? Not altogether, but it does have an influence, good or bad.