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Cosmetic plastic surgery

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by jordews, Oct 22, 2001.

  1. jordews

    jordews Senior Member
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    I'm sure this topic has been discussed somewhere on SDN, but since i'm relatively new, and I haven't seen it, I wanted to get some of your thoughts on this matter. I was talking to a kid who is applying to med school this year, and I got to asking him what he wanted to do when he gets out of med school, and he says "Well i'm not really supposed to talk about it with people who are also applying, but I really wanna be a plastic surgeon". So me, trying to be nice says "oh yah, there's nothing to be ashamed of there, there's a big place for that kind of doctor you know like car accidents, fire victims etc." and he replies "no, I don't want to do reconstructive stuff, I strictly want to go into cosmetic plastic surgery" after which I really didn't have anything to say. So i ask him if he is going to be honest about this at his interview if they ask him what specialty he wants to go in, and he says he's not, that he's going to lie and say that he hasn't made up his mind etc. So i guess what I wanted to ask you guys, is how you see the whole cosmetic plastic surgery issue. Do you think it has a place in medicine, should there be this big taboo hanging over it in the medical world, should this kid feel like he should have to lie in his interviews just because he wants to go into medicine to be a cosmetic plastic surgeon? I personally have some strong beliefs on this topic, but I wanted to see what all of you guys thought before I go spilling my guts. Any thoughts?
     
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  3. jargon124

    jargon124 Senior Member
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    If I were in your friend's situation, I would not disclose my desire to do cosmetic plastic surgery either. It would definitely not help him admissions-wise. My personal opinion is that cosmetic surgery is wrong. Yet there is a demand for it and you can't really blame surgeons for meeting that with supply - its Econ101. That said, I would NEVER choose plastic surgery for myself - no matter how much money there is in liposuction, face lifts, tummy-tucks. The reason is that cosmetic plastic surgery is not consistent with what I believe a doctor should be doing for his/her patient. I couldn't live with myself...but I have no right to impose my belief on anyone else.
     
  4. choker

    choker Senior Member
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    i had a cornell interview with the chairman of admissions and plastic surgery came up... NEVER SAY YOU WANT TO BECOME A PLASTIC SURGEON!!! they dont have to deal with HMOs, they get paid than almost all the other doctors, and they dont have to deal with sick people, the latter is of course what other doctors hold sacred. i wouldn't mind being a plastic surgeon, but it's pretty apparent to me that plastic surgery has a HUGE stigma attached to it ESPECIALLY at the academic level. just say you want to be a surgeon, that makes everyone happy. schools love surgeons.
     
  5. THE instiGATOR

    THE instiGATOR Cow Tipper
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    WOW! Surprised to hear so many negative things from you all. I think that plastic surgeons provide a great service to their patients. Having lived with a birth deformity (a moderate to severe chest wall indentation), I can understand desire to be "normal". "Normal" is very subjective, but there is a place for those who work to bring others toward what the society in which a patient lives deems normal. I visited a plastic surgeon when contemplating correction of my deformity but elected instead to have it corrected by a CT surgeon.

    As far as breast augmentation, face lifts and other elective procedures are concerned; if they make their recipients happy...I'm cool with them.

    No, I'm not aspiring to a career in plastic surgery...though I haven't ruled it out.

    Gotta sleep or else I may need someone to lift the bags from under my eyes ;) ! Take it easy.
     
  6. none

    none 1K Member
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    What in the world is wrong with plastic surgery? It's not for me as I don't particularly like surgery of any sort, but I can totally respect someone who is into it. Self-image is one of the most important things there is and if a doctor can play a role in helping a person create a better one, then great! Doctors need to make happy, not just well, patients. Clearly, though...it's not what you discuss in an interview because almost definitely the adcom members aren't plastic surgeons and probably don't respect the field. I don't know if they're jealous or not, but it's just not an appropriate discussion topic.
     
  7. jordews

    jordews Senior Member
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    Heres the main problem I have with plastic surgery. There are probably going to be 30,000 applicants to med school this year, and only about half that number will get in. Anyone who is going to medical school to become a cosmetic plastic surgeon is taking up a valuable spot for someone who might actually want to try and help people who actually need help! I would have no problem with plastic surgery if they had their own schools or something, but they are going to go to medical school, and waste a perfectly good education. This world is highly understaffed when it comes to medical care, and the last thing that we need to do is spend valuable resources, and valuable medical education on physicians that are going to go out into a specialty that when it comes right down to it, is not vital, and maybe even not necessary. Maybe all of these people that are becoming plastic surgeons should become psychiatrists so that when someone comes to them because they are not satisfied with the way they look, they can address the real cause, instead of feeding the whole damn problem.
     
  8. styphon

    styphon Senior Member
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    You act like there is a shortage of doctors in America...Well I have never seen anything to support that..But i have seen MANY papers about the overpopulation of doctors in America..

    People who go into Plastic Surgery deserve to be in medical school..If you lose a spot to someone who wants to be one, they obviously viewed better in the application process and it is no different than someone who wants to be in Family Medicine taking a spot.
     
  9. UCMonkey

    UCMonkey Senior Member
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    I think it is really important here to specify between cosmetic plastic surgery and reconstructive plastic surgery. There's a big difference between doing face lifts and tummy tucks and fixing a child's cleft lip or operating on someone who's been severely disfigured by a birth defect or, say, an industrial accident.

    My opinion: I agree with everyone above who said that saying that you want to be a purely cosmetic plastic surgeon is a bad idea in an interview. However, if what you really want to do is reconstructive, I think that would be great to say; I'm sure the interviewers realize that reconstructive surgeons not only restore a "normal" look, but in many cases, improve or restore normal function as well.
     
  10. none

    none 1K Member
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    There are too many doctors out there. There isn't a shortage and even if there was...we have plenty of foreign doctors who have long been waiting to get in here (and even practice family/internal medicine!). What exactly is the difference between fixing a congenital defect and fixing the scars of aging? They both came from genetics and they both hurt the psyche of the patient. I'm considerably annoyed by anyone saying one field of medicine is any better than another. They are all out there to help people. My allergies probably aren't going to kill me...should a doctor feel horribly guilty about making me feel better? It is all suffering! No one but the sufferer has the right to quantify and judge it.
     
  11. NE_Cornhusker1

    NE_Cornhusker1 12" Member
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    I'm gonna have to agree with none. A girl feeling bad about herself because of a small chest can go spend $3000 on breast augmentation and solve that problem or $3000 on consuling and talk about and maybe solve it. Another dilemma is penis circumscicion, it's completely cosmetic, and totally accepted by society. Just a couple of thoughts.
     
  12. rpames

    rpames Optometrist
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    Just a thought about penis circumscicion, it really isn't just cosmetic. Many males that are not circumciced develope rashes, fungal and bacterial infections do to moisture retension in the extra skin folds. It also can increase the chance of urinary track infection throughout life.

    As far a cosmetic surgery in general, I personally don't see a good reason for it to occur. On the same note, I'm a "normal" person without any "abnoral" features that make me feel unconfortable with myself. If I were in some way abnormal, I can see myself feeling differently about the situation.

    For people getting face-lifts just to prevent the apperance of aging, I say age gracefully.
     
  13. jdub

    jdub Senior Member
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    btw,

    there is a shortage of doctors in the united states and the only reason why people don't see it, is because they are not living in all of the rural and underserved areas that don't have enough doctors.

    it is more a question of distribution.

    i feel very bad that many in our culture feel this way.
     
  14. elle

    elle Senior Member
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    Here's a question I saw on the interviewfeedback site... if there are studies showing that cosmetic surgery increases self esteem and body image, therefore helping someone's mental health, should HMOs cover these procedures (such as liposuction) if they are not medically warrented?
    I'm really interested in what you guys think...I would say no, but it's a tough call.
     
  15. Jalopycat

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    I think plastic surgery is a great profession. The people that come see you, see you because they REALLY want to change something about themselves, and they usually end of feeling better than when they came in; and as NE Cornhusker so eloquently said, achieve this goal spending less money than on a therapist. How many docs actually get to experience that?

    Plus, I know a plastic surgeon who implemented a nation wide program to provide free plastic surgery to women who have been facially disfigured due to domestic violence. The only catch is that the woman has to legally/personally end the relationship. This doctor has been featured on 20/20 and other news shows. Please don't say that this service she provides does not have a positive influence on her patients. There's no telling how many lives she saved. Isn't that what medicine is all about?
     
  16. English Chick

    English Chick Senior Member
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    It doesn't sound like very many people who've contributed to this thread have personal experience with cosmetic plastic surgery, so I'm going to add my $.02. I don't mean to invalidate other opinions, but since I underwent a (purely) cosmetic procedure earlier this summer, I may be able to add a practical/applied perspective to this discussion. First, the suggestion that those medical students who will later become cosmetic plastic surgeons are wasting a spot in medical school strikes me as a strange idea. For better or worse, medical care in this country is treated largely as a market commodity. In this sense, cosmetic plastic surgery is merely an extension of the status quo in US health care. More importantly, plasic surgeons provide a tremendous service to their patients, albeit one that is misunderstood and underappreciated by many. My experience this summer was overwhelmingly positive. It may sound shallow to many of you, but I can't articulate adequately the change in my life and in my image of myself. Not only was my doctor both an artist and a scientist, but my interaction with him reminded me why I want to be a doctor, and reinforced for me the benefits (unrelated to this experience, since cosmetic plastic surgery is, of course, not covered by insurance) of classic indemnity insurance, as opposed to managed care. I essentially have unlimited access to my doctor. At each appointment, he spends as much time with me as I require. And I leave his office happier than I went in. Frankly, I can see why he wanted to follow the career he did.
     
  17. Trek

    Trek Grand Uranium Member
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    Not being nosy, but what did ya get done? My ex-gf just had a breast augmentation and i can tell it's already changed her personality in just a couple of weeks... --Trek
     
  18. Mary Jane Watson

    Mary Jane Watson Senior Member
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    This is an interesting topic...

    I don't want to go into plastic surgery, but I am personally thinking about having plastic surgery, and I guess it's mostly for a cosmetic reason.

    I am rather well-endowed, and although most people might be jealous, don't be.
    It is extremely hard for me to buy clothes, especially bathing suits. When I went to buy my suit for my interview, it was frustrating, because I'm also 4'11". Even going shopping for fun ends up being not so fun by the end of it.
    Also, it tends to be painful. I can't sleep on my stomach, and I always wake up with a backache in the morning.
    I have a small waist, but you'd never know it from my chest. It also gets very tiring having men talk to your chest all the time, and both men and women like to make jokes... well, its not funny anymore.

    As for the HMO question, no HMO would pay for me to have a reduction. I understand that, but I think that maybe that could be an option for people in future. Like, you can add dental and vision to your coverage at work, maybe if you or a member of your family is considering plastic surgery, you could pay extra every month for the coverage. There are plenty of people out there with disfigurements (not like me) who can't get surgery because HMOs don't offer that option. This is just an idea - the choice could be there.

    Sorry this is so long, but I can't wait for the day when I look in the mirror and be happy, or go jogging or a rigorous aerobics class with out pain (don't laugh). Cosmetic surgery isn't just for the Joan Rivers of the world... ;)
     
  19. English Chick

    English Chick Senior Member
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    Small world, Trek ... I had a breast augmentation also. :)
     
  20. jordews

    jordews Senior Member
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    I see all of you guys' points, and I do see where a plastic surgeon could really change someone's personality by giving them so much more self esteem etc. But a problem that I still have is how many people that go to a plastic surgeon are like you guys? I have been around plastic surgeon's offices, and it just seems like the majority of the people there are wealthy people who are getting worlds and worlds of plastic surgery done so they can just be "perfect" i.e. michael jackson. So I guess my question is.. how much of plastic surgery is truly warranted and is actually making a big difference, and how much of it is just wealthy people trying to make everything in their life, including their bodies/faces perfect? If it is the latter, then I do think that plastic surgery is a precious waste of medical resources.
     
  21. THE instiGATOR

    THE instiGATOR Cow Tipper
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    I'd venture to say that most who have plastic surgery are average joes and janes. Yes, people have problems and can become addicted to plastic surgery. You'll find, however, that there are those who visit other physicians with seemingly unimportant "problems".

    If I were a plastic surgeon, I would be more selective in who I treated. Unfortunately, greed sometimes gets the best of us.
     
  22. English Chick

    English Chick Senior Member
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    I can't speak to other procedures, but I can attest that the kind of American women who actually get breast implants (all 200,000 of us every year) are in your first category. Check out the discussion forums at www.implantinfo.com and see for yourself. Mostly, they're housewives and working women in their 30's, 40's and even 50's who are sick of hating what they look like naked. Mostly, they make this one change to their bodies. I'm certainly not planning any more plastic surgery, but I gotta tell you, this is the best thing I've ever done for myself.
     
  23. Homer J. Simpson

    Homer J. Simpson 1st and goal from the 1 yard line.
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    How do you feel about the Derms whose offices specialize in Botox injections, laser hair removal, tattoo removal, skin resurfacing, etc....
     

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