Does the world need another book on cosmetic surgery? Maybe not, but my patients could use one. It was time for me to review my philosophies and strategies of cosmetic surgery and articulate them. Procedures change, perspectives change and I've changed as well. I believe my perspectives on the topic will be insightful not only to cosmetic surgery, but life in general.
During the last decade I have witnessed a lot more turbulence regarding cosmetic surgery than I would have predicted. Ten years ago, I thought cosmetic surgery would simply evolve to a highly acceptable and rather normal approach to correcting and improving aspects of physical appearance. While it has gained wide spread attention and increased acceptance, it remains laced with mysticism and often shrouded in secrecy. Consequently, its acceptance level remains far below its potential. People who would significantly benefit from cosmetic surgery are often saddled with erroneous information or conflicting presentations.
Doctors have often been the worse enemy to the public it wants to serve. "Turf wars" between cosmetic surgeons, plastic surgeons, facial plastic surgeons, dermatologic surgeons, ophthalmologic plastic surgeons, and a host of other doctors performing cosmetic procedures have further limited potential patients' pursuits. The desire to corner the market on patients has only worked to scare many people away from the market. Talk shows love to show botched results and get doctors from different backgrounds to criticize one another. The net result is fear rather than understanding. Doctors, perhaps to cover their behinds, and perhaps to appear "expert", will often elaborate on the negative.
Additionally, raging controversies such as the recent FDA ban on silicone gel breast implants (except in specific cases) and the huge global settlements (presently stalled in bankruptcy) from several of the manufacturers has furthered misperceptions about cosmetic breast augmentation. The actual scientific truths have been a far cry from the public perceptions. This is not to imply that there were or are no problems associated with the procedure. As will be discussed in later chapters, why the problems occurred may not be as obvious as the FDA, the media, the attorneys, and some doctors might have you believe.
I am a firm believer that there is considerably more good in this world of ours than bad. However, it is generally the negative, the aberrations, that make news. If 250,000 commuters get to work safely, no one reports it. If one person crashes into a bus, it makes every news program in town. In this regard, thousands of people have had successful cosmetic procedures and rightfully blend into society. Typically, it is the unhappy patient, or the one with the poor result, which is heard from. Indeed, it's a testimony to its overall safety and the generally positive outcomes that cosmetic surgery has not become an extinct form of medicine.
Less I be branded a hypocrite, it should almost go without saying, that I am also writing this book for my own benefit. I enjoy sharing my thoughts and spreading information about my field of interest. I would like to eventually see a society which has evolved to the point where people can recognize a bothersome physical trait and comfortably fix it when feasible. I hope the book will not only answer questions, but also provoke questions and comments. I hope the book will be fun, as well as helpful.