Saturday, August 1, 2009

Plastic Surgery: Medicine or Marketing?

Plastic surgery was once reserved for the wealthy elite, who were careful to keep their occasional nip tucks hush hush. Today, reality shows, celebrity exposés, and provocative websites have brought cosmetic surgery out into the open. Some say that all this media exposure raises consumer awareness, while others argue that objective information is drowned out by so much marketing hype.

A generation ago, plastic surgery was reserved for the uber-wealthy, who kept a low profile when they went under the knife. Hollywood starlets were closely guarded during surreptitious trips to the surgeon, and trophy wives disappeared for mysterious “spa treatments”, emerging weeks later looking far more than refreshed.

Today, plastic surgery is seemingly everywhere. From television reality shows, prime time dramas and medical before-and-after series to a barrage of websites that let consumers see themselves in 3-D, rate their surgeon, or pander for benefactors to pay for their breast implants, the media can’t get enough of cosmetic surgery.

In the latest episode of Plastic Surgery Talk, host Dr. William P. Adams, Jr., MD, talks with board certified plastic surgeon Dr. Brett Snyder, MD about the media’s obsession with plastic surgery. Is the media’s fixation merely a reflection of the industry growth, particularly among middle class Americans? Are consumers better informed because of the extensive coverage, or are they falling prey to the marketing hype? Dr. Snyder shares some surprising insights during the show.

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