I have never been a fan of reality TV. At least not in recent years.
I remember really enjoying the early episodes of Big Brother, that bit where Craig confronted Nasty Nick and I loved to watch The Apprentice the one with Stuart Baggs ‘the brand’.
But it’s not the same any more.
I heard Ben Fogle on the radio the other day talking about when he was in Castaway. It came out before reality TV was popular and the contestants were chosen because they wanted to escape from it all and were not looking for celebrity or limelight. The dynamic was completely different to the reality TV shows we are exposed to today.
When I see images of some of the ‘reality TV stars’, they demonstrate the media portrayal of what plastic surgery is supposed to be achieving.
…but I don’t recognise that body shape – the over enhanced breast implants and the inflated lips are not what most plastic surgeons are trying to achieve.
My waiting room is full of mums with small children who have lost volume in their breasts or have redundant skin on their abdomen.
They don’t want to look like caricatures and just want to look
- in proportion,
- how they used to be
- with a figure that is more in keeping with the rest of their body.
I can’t believe I’m seeing this new TV so called Surjery where ‘contestants’ are chosen to compete for the opportunity to have plastic surgery.
Is there no depths to where the media will go to portray plastic surgery as being a vacuous commodity with no morals?
All plastic surgeons are doctors and as doctors we have to treat patients.
In my view there should be no difference to a patient who is coming for orthopaedic surgery, a heart operation or attending the doctor with chest pain.
We have to assess patients and see whether we can help them by medical intervention.
Plastic surgery is no different to any other and to suggest that it should be given away as a gameshow prize is beyond belief.
It feeds the media portrayal of plastic surgery being unnecessary and vain.
But this is not the case in my experience.
When asked if I would allow my family to have plastic surgery, I would always answer ‘it depends if they need it or not’.
In the same way that I can’t answer whether they would have orthopaedic surgery or heart surgery until the situation arose I would weigh up the pros and cons and make a judgement.
As doctors we are trying to improve quality of life whether we are doing a heart transplant or putting a hip replacement in or treating a patient for chest pain.
As plastic surgeons we are doing the same, and we do it very effectively and can improve and enhance patients’ lives tremendously.
The media portrayal of everyone seeking plastic surgery to be a vain and shallow person can only damage the portrayal of plastic surgery and feeds into patients feeling guilty and selfish who might otherwise benefit greatly from it.
Obviously I have are my own view on the subject which will not be shared by much of the general public because they are constantly fed TV shows about botched surgery or extreme cases.
The media are not interested in the ‘normal patient’
…who just wants to feel more confident and be able to wear the clothes that they want to.
I will continue my crusade to raise awareness for the good that plastic surgery can achieve.
I want people to realise that it is not any less worthy than any other medical or surgical intervention.
Yes, there are risks and potential complications as there are with any procedure and these need to be balanced against the benefits.
But we must not lose sight that the benefits can be tremendous and just because they are usually psychological benefits rather than physical benefits, they are given less weight and deemed less worthy.
If we can do something to improve someone’s psychological feeling of well-being then in my view this is no less worthy than improving their physical feeling of well-being.
The sooner we recognise psychological health in the same way that we acknowledge physical health, the better.
I would love to hear that the next reality show is about patients who had plastic surgery and feel a lot better about themselves and no one has really noticed except to say that they look younger or less tired or just different in some way, …but I can’t help but think that this will not take off because when it comes to entertainment, there is no money in the middle.