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


Cosmetic surgery, a field with a fascinating history, is now widespread and includes a number of different techniques to enhance appearance. Recent developments raise a number of ethical and policy questions related to body modification. Health professionals have an important and constructive role to play in supporting safe and healthy behaviors and in promoting realistic ideals of beauty. The media should more positively portray characters with values based upon personal, intellectual, and emotional attributes, rather than on superficial (and fleeting) outward physical characteristics. And government, medical societies, and the media must confront the hucksterism and false claims rampant in the body modification industry. One can only hope that with more education and increases in enlightened discussion at all levels -- from the preschool years to the Golden years -- society can become more egalitarian and less superficial in definitions of beauty and worth.


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