Principles and Psychology of a Plastic Surgeon
The Social Acceptance Of Plastic Surgery
From telling all in magazines, to candid social media videos, people are becoming more and more open about their cosmetic surgery procedures. Whilst this openness within modern society seemingly displays a more accepting attitude towards plastic surgery, we are still more than likely to gasp in dismay at images of plastic surgery results gone wrong (particularly those of celebrities).
There are many instances of public fascination on how cosmetic surgery went so bad for certain individuals in the public domain, such as the celebrity disasters of Michael Jackson, and Donatella Versace, to the more infamous individuals such as Jocelyn Wildenstein, and Italian socialite Michaela Romanini to name but a few. Whilst this curiosity is about how things got so bad for the individual involved, it would be just as accurate to say many wonder ‘How could their plastic surgeon allow this to happen?’
An Oculofacial Plastic Surgeon Talks About The Pressure Of Fame
Dealing with a celebrity can be a surreal experience and until it has happened to you personally, it is hard to know just how you will react. This is true even for highly trained professionals, such as plastic surgeons.
The Cosmetic Tourist recently spoke to New York City oculofacial plastic surgeon Joel E. Kopelman M.D who is an aesthetic and reconstructive specialist with over 30 years of medical experience. During our conversation we asked him how a doctor could become involved with these sad results of cosmetic surgery procedures, that have so obviously (and publicly) gone wrong.
It’s More Than Just A Cosmetic Procedure
It is possible, when a doctor has someone famous in-front of them, they lose sight of (or at least suppress) certain ethical principles when discussing and deciding upon surgical procedures, says Dr. Kopelman. This makes a lot of sense when you think about some of the doctor/famous patient incidents we have witnessed over the years, for example the amount of cosmetic surgery Michael Jackson received, and also the sheer amount of medicines he was constantly administered by his personal physicians.
This ‘titillation of dealing with the famous’, as Dr. Kopelman puts it, can change how a patient is viewed. If a celebrity has already had cosmetic surgery, a cosmetic surgeon might see this as their chance to fix the past mistakes and gain a certain notoriety for themselves as the newest ‘Plastic Surgeon to the Stars’.
Oculofacial plastic surgeon Dr. Kopelman also points out that this sort of pressure on a doctor is not just limited to fame, but can also appear when presented with an extremely wealthy patient. He makes it clear just how important it is for a plastic surgeon to remember that every patient is a human being, who has the same needs/desires that require the same protections, care, and trust, no matter who they are; A doctor must resist being swept up in the celebrity fueled mania, where they abandon their ethical principles and see their patients as a walking (and paying) procedure list.
Plastic Surgery, Social Media And A Body’s ‘Image’
In today’s world of social media, and image based self promotion, we have seen an unprecedented growth in cosmetic surgery. This shift in society has led to an upswing in the over use of cosmetic procedures on people from all walks of life, and not just celebrities.
Everyone’s body has a specific ‘image’ to it, which is as individual as the mind it houses. When it comes to procedural work, a body can only take a certain amount of physical change before it starts to suffer from what Dr. Kopelman calls ‘a loss of image’.
This loss of image is a form of body dysmorphic syndrome that occurs when too much plastic surgery has been performed and the individual loses their imprinted body imagery. This can get steadily worse, as they continue to seek “improvements”, when no defect actually exists and is when a body’s physical changes will stand out so negatively.
A Plastic Surgeon’s Role In Caring For A Body’s Image
Is society entering a negative trend within social and other media outlets, where voyeurism and imagery are diminishing people's happiness? How large a role does narcissism play in this trend for more and more plastic surgery? When is enough enough, and who decides that?
Whilst you will always get different answers to these questions, one thing that can be agreed upon is how too many cosmetic procedures to an individual body can drastically and permanently destroy it’s ‘image’, and this is where a plastic surgeon has the power to control what some see as exploitation of the human body.
So how does Dr. Kopelman deal with patients who want more and more cosmetic surgery? Firstly, he says you have to treat every patient as a human being and he personally approaches anyone who walks through his doors in the same way he would a close friend or family member. Then he explores their motivations that brought them to his office. He particularly wants to know if they are contemplating the surgery for self –improvement or to satisfy someone else’s desires.
How Does New York Ocufacial Plastic Surgeon, Dr. Joel Kopelman Manage Patient Expectations
One of Dr Kopelman’s roles is to help manage the patient’s expectations, especially as he knows there are parameters that he cannot control. For instance it is this ocufacial surgeon's belief that the perceived satisfaction with the surgical outcome of a procedure is not only tied to meeting the aesthetic expectations of a person, but the satisfaction derived from the procedure is equally interconnected to the psycho-social health of an individual.
In other words, if patients are happy coming in to Dr. Kopelman’s office, then they will be happy when they leave, whereas if they are unhappy and disgruntled from the start, chances are they will leave unhappy.
Plastic surgery can benefit people by improving their self image and boost their confidence, but if other aspects of their lives are in disarray then no amount of cosmetic surgery can remedy this.
The Psychology And Expectation Of Perfection Within Plastic Surgery
Social media has become saturated with images and videos of cosmetic procedures, both surgical and non surgical. Whilst these can be extremely educational, viewing such procedures and the usually excellent results presented at the end of them have just increased expectations of perfection. This can be seen with the growing amount of patients who visit a cosmetic surgeon’s office for the first time expectating to be offered near impossible perfection.
Cosmetic Surgery Is Not A Commodity
Dr. Kopelman points out that if someone is serious about having any facial cosmetic surgery then they need to educate themselves about the procedure and stop over simplifying it, such as just skimming through some Instagram photographs and projecting their own desires onto someone else’s image.
Cosmetic surgery is something not to be taken lightly by patients and doctors alike. It is important for both parties to remember that all cosmetic surgery procedures are just that, a surgical procedure and not just an image based commodity to be trivialized without proper thought or understanding.
Whilst a plastic surgeon can offer a patient their professional advice, it is (just like the nature of plastic surgery itself) all about the individual receiving it, and ultimately it is they who have to think through the risks and rewards and make the final decision.
Ocufacial Plastic Surgeon Dr. Joel Kopelman, New York City
The Cosmetic Tourist would like to thank Dr. Joel E. Kopelman for his time in sharing his thoughts. Should you be looking around the tristate New York area for a renowned ocufacial plastic surgeon who specializes in cosmetic eyelid surgery & facelifts you should go over to his extensive website to learn more.
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