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Too Much of a Good Thing – Two to Tango

October 2nd, 2009

Patients choose whether to have cosmetic surgery or not.   It is purely an elective and usually non-essential surgery.   Some patients end up having so many cosmetic surgery operations that their physical appearance becomes distorted, as I have discussed in prior blogs.   Obviously the responsibility of having multiple cosmetic surgery procedures rests with the patient.   However, without a surgeon or injectionist doing each treatment, excessive surgery would never occur.   It takes two to tango, except of course when patients do surgery or injections on themselves.

I often see patients during consultations that have had multiple surgeries.   Most often they have had their surgical procedures over a number of years and performed for specific physical sensitivities.   Most results are natural in appearance and they are generally accepting of results, which may not always be perfect.   In my opinion, these individuals are not obsessed with cosmetic surgery and I will consider them as patients.

There happen to be a few patients that present having had multiple surgeries on a single body part in quick succession, done by different surgeons.   Some have so much scarring; it is impossible to make any further corrections.   I advise these patients not to have more surgery.   My professional ethics do not allow me to accept them as patients.   Sadly this is not acceptable to everyone and unfortunately they will continue to seek out other physicians either locally or in other cities, until they find a surgeon to do what they want.   Rest assured, you can most always find a surgeon to operate on you.   Understand that surgeons make their living by operating, so when a surgeon recommends not having surgery, there must be a very good reason because they are losing income.   Nonetheless it is difficult to disappoint a patient and turn them away.   Fortunately, here in Minneapolis, most of my patients have reasonable expectations and seem to be conservative in their desire for unnecessary or repetitive cosmetic surgeries.

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Too Much Good Stuff – Body Dysmorphic Disorder

September 23rd, 2009

Cosmetic surgery addiction or habituation does occur more frequently than one would expect.   At least it appears that way in the media.   Websites are full of individuals who have chosen too much plastic surgery.  Also featured are people that have chosen procedures which have left them with an unnatural physical appearance, either by design or because of a poor result.   I think these situations are related.

The first person who comes to mind is the late Michael Jackson.   Throughout his life he underwent a metamorphosis each year toward a more bizarre facial appearance.   By examining successive photos, it is impossible to figure out precisely what he had done.   Obviously he had multiple nose surgeries.   He has also had a variety of facial skin tightening/whitening procedures along with a myriad of facial implants and injections.   I really think he suffered the full expression of   “body dysmorphic syndrome.”   “Body dysmorphic disorder is a mental illness also known as imagined ugliness. It’s just that – a person sees physical flaws that either too slight or nonexistent for anyone else to notice…” The term imagined ugliness perfectly describes this condition.   Michael Jackson imagined himself ugly and most likely sought out cosmetic surgeries and treatments in an effort to alleviate his mental anguish.  As it has been reported, he also sought some type of escape by abusing numerous prescription drugs.  In a way he traded his probable psychiatric diagnosis (socially unacceptable) for a surgical procedures (socially acceptable).   Arguably the cosmetic surgery procedures provided him with the publicity he craved and attention he needed on a continued and ongoing basis.

It is unfortunate that he surrounded himself with an  entourage that did very little in his best interest, except to simply enable his unhealthy choices and line their own pockets.

Tomorrow I will discuss Jocelyn Wildenstein, known as the “Cat Woman” of New York because of her  peculiar desire to look like a cat.

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