Ethics of Plastic Surgery
Dr. Michael L. Ford
My wife watches a medical program where people who have had the misfortune and their appearance marred get corrective plastic surgery. I have watched children born with everything from harelip to external tumors, plus Siamese twin situations, repaired by the surgeon’s scalpel on this program. I think it is also good people marred by war, traffic accidents, and criminal acts can have damage done to them corrected. There is another program she also watches where plastic surgeons correct the ravages of time and physical characteristics considered unappealing to present society, such as prominent noses and so forth.
I do not think it is necessarily a bad thing that excess skin can be removed or even that pendulous breasts might be reduced for the sake of human comfort. But I think there are factors that should be considered in the case of plastic surgery as with other surgical operations. For instance, the problem of surgery acquired infections occurring in almost two million patients in the USA, causing some 90,000 people to die each year also includes plastic surgery recipients. Before one gets plastic surgery shouldn’t they consider the fact they are exposing themselves to this risk as well as the possibility of surgery going wrong before they commit?
One of the things I have become acutely aware of is there are people who have become addicted to plastic surgery. People nip and tuck faces, chests, thighs, and yes, even the derriere. I first became concerned about the ethics of plastic surgery when I learned a number of years ago that some women were even getting a surgery performed to restore the symbol, often considered proof, of virginity. It seems to me that there is a point where plastic surgery should be considered unethical and where its purpose is to deceive immoral.
Physical characteristics also point to what part of the family of man we belong. Trying to alter or hide these features is like saying we are ashamed of our forebears. Then there is the question for the surgery addicts to consider. When does plastic surgery become a form of self-mutilation? God forbade this in His Law: ethical consideration should consider at what point we transgress.
P. O. Box 752
Buchanan, Georgia 30113