Sunday, March 30, 2008

Plastic Surgery In The News



There have been major stories buzzing the health and medical blogasphere that are related although the events took place across the Atlantic. In Britain, a couple decided to have plastic surgery performed on their 5 years old daughter. She has Down Syndrome. The desire was to help her look more "normal" and fit in better. More here.

In Florida, an 18 years old cheerleader died during breast enhancement surgery. More here.

The buzz is that in both cases the surgery was cosmetic in nature and reflects on the vanity we are succumbing to. Many feel there should be more regulation. However, Bobblehead is not so sure about this and has been fairly quiet in the comments on other blogs.

First off, the Bobblehead has had plastic surgery. And while some would say it was cosmetic in nature, the results have been dramatic and I would go through the surgery again in a heart beat.

After my 200 pound weight loss I was stuck with a problem. My "apron" that was the skin on my belly hung down almost to my knees. My clothes would not fit right. When I walked or exercised, the skin would sway drastically and painfully. It also was drying up in areas and was forming scabs. It was so far down and put some much pressure on my lower body that when (okay, this is not kid-friendly) I had to pee, I could not just lower my fly and go. I had to drop my pants, hold the apron up out of the way, and go. Urinals were not my friend. At the same time I had developed an incisional hernia down the front of my abdominal. I decided to take care of both of them. Outside of Houston, I had two surgeons work on me. One fixed the hernia and the other removed the excess skin. This is an abdominoplasty or "tummy tuck." Eighteen pounds of it. I awoke to a belly that was fairly flat and normal. I still have a lot of loose skin but it is not a burden like the apron was. I dropped almost 4 inches in my waist (all skin, not fat). I can pee normally. Jumping jacks and running is possible. It is wonderful. I have no regrets at all for my choice in this surgery. As for the loose skin in my thighs and still some in my gut, I do not care. This is great as is. I am not trying to be perfect, just functional.

The couple with the Down Syndrome child had her tongue reduced in size. It was protruding as is often the case. I actually agree with this surgery. There are health issues at stake including respiratory and just general health. I did not consider this cosmetic in nature and defend the parents' decision to do this surgery. The parents also had two other surgeries performed on their child, though. Small flaps of skin were removed from around the girl's eyes. Down Syndrome children used to be called "Mongoloid" because of their almost Asian appearance (and their rounded faces). The girl's eyes were made to look more normal. In addition, a third surgery pinned her ears back. Again, purely cosmetic. Again, to make here fit in.

Bobblehead has issues with this. And they are not politically correct. This Down Syndrome girl will never be normal. She will be what she is. She will be mentally challenged and forever frozen in a child-like mental state no matter what she looks like. And to that I say, so what. The world is big enough for all types. Heaven knows I am mentally challenged half of the time. Will the girl be a rocket scientist? No. Will she be capable of giving love and compassion? Yes. Will she look like everyone else? No. Will that make her less beautiful? No. Will that make her picked on and less accepted? Maybe by some but, again, so what. No matter who you are, there is always someone out there that hates your guts just because. Your self worth is not judged by how others judge you. Neither is that girl's. I am pissed off at the parents and feel they made the wrong choice. So are a lot of other people. Stupid parents.


It is not my call to deny the parents the right to have their child go through surgery. After all, if the girl were horribly disfigured in an accident or fire, no one would deny the parent's right to ask for "cosmetic surgery" to rebuild a face. Where do we draw that line. Should the government and the "people" take the role of the parents in this case? How do you define the cases? Who judges? What makes them so damned qualified?

I believe strongly that the parents made some awful choices but it was their choices to make. Them and their doctor's. No, the child could not speak for herself. And with a lower IQ, even at 18 years old she could not make those choices. We can chastise the parents for what they are doing but in the end, parents screw up every day. That is what parents do. The parents had a right to choose. I would raise the age limit up a number of years but any number is arbitrary and some surgeries are less risky when the patients are younger. There is no good one-size-fits-all solution, here.

So, what if another girl was 18, pretty, a cheerleader, intelligent, had chosen a career in medicine (plastic surgery, ironically)? Can she decide what to do in her case? In Boca Raton, Florida, a girl died from a problem in anesthesia having her breasts enlarged and a nipple straightened. No one foresaw the death although it is a documented risk. The number of deaths is extremely low but will never be zero.

Again, I feel the girl was vain. I saw photos of her. She was very pretty. Larger breasts would not (in my opinion) make her more pretty. And heaven knows I have had my share of visually beautiful people that were spiritually vacant. This girl (according to the press) was loved by all (funny how mean bastards and bitches never die or have bad things happen to them in the press!). Now, she is pretty and dead.

Vain? Yes. I think she made a poor choice. A symbol of our material, flashy world? Yes, but behavior like this has always existed in history and culture (body piercing, tattoos, Geisha's, feet binding, neck rings, the list goes on...). But, in the end, the girl was 18. She legally could make this choice. She knew the risks, knew that this was 100% non-essential, knew it all. She paid the price as did her friends and family.

If my daughter came to me and asked to have a breast enhancement I would say no way on hell. Bigger boobies will not make my already beautiful girls more beautiful. But I do not think I will have that problem...

Should the cheerleader been forbidden to make that choice. Again, no. It was her choice to make. Sad, tragic, stupid, a total waste. But her choice.

Neither of these cases are happy. Both bother me more than words can express. In one case I see parents subjecting their little girl to surgery to hide a condition that she should never hide. In the other, I see the vanity of our society claiming a young life. Both cases are disturbing. All I could, and should, do is learn from the mistakes of others and instill strong values in myself and my family.

As for the Bobblehead, no more plastic surgeries are foreseen in my future. I have no regrets in my own surgery. When other drastic weight loss people approach me and ask if they should have plastic surgery I tell them my story but temper it with one phrase that I state again and again.

They must decide for themselves.

[posted by Bobblehead]


  1. well said! My 12 yr old (daughter) and I were watching this, with horror I might add. She was more disgusted than I, thankfully. She doesn't get the whole idea of girls, or women for that, adding to their breast sized either. Or any type of platic surgery. ridiculous. the price people pay for vanity.

  2. Deborah,
    Again, sorry for the girl's death. Horror is the right word. Teach your 12 years old girl that she can make a difference. She can be beautiful by being herself. She will have to work hard, she will fail at times, she might get snubbed at times but in the end she sets her own self worth. When the Bobblehead was younger and newly married he told Mrs. Bobblehead he wanted girls. I kept getting warned that girls were "harder." They are, but they are worth it. Keep up the good work, Deborah. There are plenty of GREAT positive role models for your daughter to look towards...none with implanted silicone.


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