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Cosmetic surgery – where to draw the line?

Posted: 28/02/2014


Cosmetic surgery used to be considered only for the rich and famous and was perceived as being for those in the public eye who wanted to change their appearance solely for vanity reasons.

Nowadays, cosmetic surgery has become more socially acceptable and accessible in terms of availability and cost and more and more people are seeking treatments that will give them greater confidence in how they look.  However, is there a risk of that cosmetic surgery will become ‘the norm’?

With the lack of regulation within this rapidly growing industry and many providers being privately paid and profit-driven, some surgeons may not be giving cosmetic surgery patients the advice that “enough is enough”.  Like tattoos, cosmetic surgery can become an obsession for  “normal”, non-famous people who repeatedly go under the knife to try to look like a celebrity.  Such patients can fail to appreciate the risks of multiple procedures  and the long term implications and can have unrealistic expectations about what can be achieved and how it may change their life.  This can leave them constantly chasing an image that they can never achieve.

Amy Milner, an associate in the clinical negligence team at Penningtons Manches who specialises in claims involving cosmetic surgery, said: “The combination of cosmetic surgery’s increasing popularity, the perception that it is no longer just for the rich and famous and the obsession with the "culture of celebrity" means that more and more people are having procedures to not only improve their overall appearance but to look like their celebrity heroes. While there is nothing wrong with this in itself, our concern is that, with the lack of regulation and safeguards in this industry, there is little incentive for a surgeon to say “enough is enough”  to a patient who may end up regretting their decisions in the future.”


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