I am constantly reading up on the latest advances regarding plastic surgery in Chicago. Recently, a news release from The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery caught my attention. According to the organization’s website, the U.K. is considering a ban on all advertising for plastic surgery. Those in favor of the ban believe that advertisements trivialize the effects of surgery and promote quick-decision making.
Although I do believe that placing certain regulations on plastic surgery advertising may be beneficial, banning plastic surgery ads altogether seems somewhat extreme. It is important that the consumer be aware that advertising puts the best “face” forward on either the procedure or the surgeon, and from advertising alone it is essentially impossible to get a balanced discussion of the benefits versus the limitations. It can also be very hard to make a decision on choice of surgeon when so many sound so accomplished on their own websites. Whenever possible, advertising should be confirmed with word of mouth, reputation, and other measures.
As one of a select group of board-certified plastic surgeons in Chicago, it is my responsibility to adhere to high standards of ethics and safety so that my patients receive the best care. I make sure to educate them about the risks and benefits of surgery without sugar-coating it so that they can make informed decisions based on factual information. If advertising were held to these same standards, and if it encouraged patients to research their procedures in advance and consult with qualified professionals, I think people would be empowered to make better choices.
Media is not the enemy. When used ethically and correctly, it can be a powerful tool to help us live healthier, more fulfilling lives.