Women’s Health in Context: Cosmetic Surgery Past, Present, and Future: Scope, Ethics, and Policy

Martin Donohoe, MD, FACP


Medscape Ob/Gyn. 2006;11(2) 

In This Article


The preceding article in this series discussed historical ideals of beauty and body modification and described in detail current approaches to altering appearance, such as the use of cosmetics, tanning, tattooing, body piercing, botulinum toxin, and dermal fillers.[1] This essay will discuss the history and scope of cosmetic surgery; describe a procedure, breast augmentation, in detail; analyze trends in male enhancement, going beyond cosmetic surgery into muscle building and augmentation of athletic performance; offer a glimpse of the fringes and future of cosmetic surgery; list some contemporary ethical and policy issues in cosmetic surgery; note a few humanitarian ventures undertaken by plastic surgeons; and conclude with thoughts on the role of health professionals and the media in defining ideals of beauty.


Comments on Medscape are moderated and should be professional in tone and on topic. You must declare any conflicts of interest related to your comments and responses. Please see our Commenting Guide for further information. We reserve the right to remove posts at our sole discretion.