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Online Deals for Plastic Surgery: Is It Ethical?

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All over cyberspace, plastic surgeons have created web pages to offer their types of services. Many also offer elegant Before and After pictures.

Now, some surgeons have also resorted to offering vouchers for patients to get cosmetic surgery at very reasonable prices. These vouchers, like food coupons, can only be redeemed as a downpayment for surgery and also have a cutoff date.

Some of the surgeons offer vouchers and insist if the patient wants the deal, payment must be made within the first 24 hours. Coercion is now becoming a familiar theme with these offers.

Why this commercialization of plastic surgery is occurring is most likely related to the economic downturn. It is evident that many people have no jobs and are unlikely to spend money on their body. Thus, for the plastic surgeon to one way to lure the patient is with a cosmetic procedure with vouchers -- which have an immediate expiratory date.

However, the Association of Plastic Surgery in Germany feels that people who receive vouchers as a gift may feel obligated to undergo surgery whether they want it or not. Recently in Britain, the Advertising standard Authority ruled against a plastic surgery advertisement for breast augmentation and rhinoplasty.

The ad gave patients until midnight the same day to make the purchase and validate the voucher. The Advertising Board felt that this “pressure of time” was totally irresponsible and coercive. The Agency said that consumers should not be pressured into any type of surgery, especially one which is purely elective.

The German Association of Plastic Surgery feels that doctors are now trying to attract customers using online vouchers and drum up business. The concern is not that of competition, but rather an ethical principle. Since when did a “nose or boob job” become an urgency that a consumer has to decide within 12 hours, if he/she wanted it?

Similarly, the Plastic Surgery Board in Britain feels that cosmetic surgery should not be pressured on consumers. Providing vouchers and adding a time limit prevents the a patient from getting a second opinion or think clearly about the procedure. A patient-doctor relationship is not simply based on money but trust, honesty and transparency.

The cost of cosmetic surgery is so high in North America that many people go abroad to look beautiful. In some South American countries, vouchers and hotel stays are frequently included if one decides to have a cosmetic procedure.

However, it is important for the consumer to understand that plastic surgery, like all surgery, also has it share of complications. And while plastic surgery abroad may be cheaper, it is not always better.


Fears over online cut-price plastic surgery deals
Abstract: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-16306347

Herrmann B. [Ideals of beauty and the medical manipulation of the body between free choice and coercion].
Abstract: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17153253

Reviewed January 2, 2012
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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