Cosmetic Surgery

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Medicine, Culture, Beauty

ISBN: 978-1-60785-260-5

edited by Bernadette Wegenstein


Plastic Reconstruction of Face, Red Cross Worker, Paris 1918 (National Library of Medicine, Bethesda, MD)
In this Parisian lab, facial parts are being plastered and put on a badly disfigured man (most likley a world war one veteran).

Denis Diderot and Jean Baptiste Le Rond d'Alembert: "Chirurgie," in: Encyclopédie, ou Dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des métiers 1772


The listing of the three areas—medicine, culture, and beauty—in the subtitle of my Living Book on cosmetic surgery is not coincidental. The practice of cosmetic surgery—a surgical intervention into the body for merely aesthetic and not medical reasons—is a medical discipline, dating back to the times of the Hindu doctor Sushruta, who practiced rhinoplasty c. 500 BCE. The promise on which this medical discipline operates is, however, not only that of ‘health,’ but also that of ‘beauty,’ be it a restorative beauty that seeks to ‘repair’ what has been lost (due to age, accident, or illness)—hence reconstructive surgery—or a beauty that is yet to be born, or ‘carved out,’ with the help of an aesthetic surgeon's scalpel and with reference to the grounding pillars of beauty: symmetry and proportion. In both cases, the desire for such beauty can be defined as a cultural phenomenon: in the sense that it affects the way we humans look, what we want, and the way we define our appearance and correlate it to our inner qualities and characteristics. (more)

Public Health

Joel Schlessinger, MD, FAAD, FAACS, Daniel Schlessinger, and Bernard Schlessinger, PhD 
Prospective Demographic Study of Cosmetic Surgery Patients
Anne F Klassen, Andrea L Pusic, Amy Scott, Jennifer Klok, Stefan J Cano 
Satisfaction and quality of life in women who undergo breast surgery: A qualitative study
Jamal M. Bullocks, M.D. 
Cosmetic Surgery in the Ethnic Population: Special Considerations and Procedures
Sunishka Wimalawansa, M.D., Aisha McKnight, M.D., and Jamal M. Bullocks, M.D. 
Socioeconomic Impact of Ethnic Cosmetic Surgery: Trends and Potential Financial Impact the African American, Asian American, Latin American, and Middle Eastern Communities Have on Cosmetic Surgery
Roberta J. Honigman, MSW; Alun C. Jackson, PhD; and Nicki A. Dowling, PhD 
The PreFACE: A Preoperative Psychosocial Screen for Elective Facial Cosmetic Surgery and Cosmetic Dentistry Patients
Cosmetic Surgery of the Nose, Gaspare Tagliacozzi, 1597 
Gaspare Tagliacozzi: Plastic Surgery of the Nose : De Curtorum Chirurgia, 1597

Breast Reconstruction — Medical Discourse and Illustration

Charles M Balch, MD, and Lisa K Jacobs, MD 
Mastectomies on the Rise for Breast Cancer: "The Tide is Changing"
Michael A Martin, Ramona Meyricke, Terry O'Neill, and Steven Roberts 
Mastectomy or Breast Conserving Surgery? Factors affecting Type of Surgical Treatment for Breast Cancer — a Classification Tree Approach
Chen JY, Malin J, Ganz PA, Ko C, Tisnado D, Tao ML, Timmer M, Adams JL, Kahn KL. 
Variation in Physician-patient Discussion of Breast Reconstruction
Mal Bebbington Hatcher, Lesley Fallowfield 
The Psychosocial Impact of Bilateral Prophylactic Mastectomy

Psychology and Sociology

Randy A Sansone, MD, Lori A Sansone, MD 
Cosmetic Surgery and Psychological Issues
Roberta J Honigman, BComm, BsocWork, AASW
Katharine A Philiips, MD; David J Castle, MSc, MD, MRCPsych, FRANZCP : A Review of Psychological Outcomes for Patients Seeking Cosmetic Surgery
Cressida Heyes 
Diagnosing Culture: Body Dysmorphic Disorder and Cosmetic Surgery
Steven S. Platek, Devendra Singh 
Optimal Waist-to-Hip Ratios in Women Activate Neural Reward Centers in Men
Victor S Johnston 
Facial Beauty and Mate Choice Decisions

Dr. Stephen Marquardt's Beauty Analysis

Feminism and Cultural Studies

Nora Ruck 
Beauty Normalized: Normalization and Optimization of the Human Body in Cosmetic Surgery and Psychological Attractiveness Research
Brenda R Weber 
Beauty, Desire, and Anxiety: the Economy of Sameness in ABC's Extreme Makeover
Kathy Davis 
Surgical Passing: Or Why Michael Jackson's Nose Makes 'Us' Uneasy
Meredith Jones 
Architecture of the Body: Cosmetic Surgery and Postmodern Space
Alicia R Ouellette 
Eyes Wide Open: Surgery to Westernize the Eyes of an Asian Child

Philosophy and Ethics

Arthur Caplan, Carl Elliott 
Is it Ethical that we Use Enhancement Technologies that Make Us Better Than Well?
Cressida Heyes 
Cosmetic Surgery and the Televisual Makeover: A Foucauldian Feminist Reading
Joanna Zylinska 
Of Swans and Ugly Ducklings: Bioethics between Humans, Animals, and Machines
Meredith Jones 
Makeover Culture’s Dark Side: Breasts, Death and Lolo Ferarri

Interview with Sander Gilman

The famous come-back video Spiegel by the all-female German Hip Hop group Tic Tac Toe came out in 2005.

It deals with female body image disorder, and the resulting desire to change everything about oneself, when looking into the Spiegel (mirror). It is told through the voices of three participants of a group therapy session who come out rapping their self-hatred.

Selected Links

NIH Plastic and Cosmetic Surgery Info

The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery

Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery: Journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons


New Beauty Magazine

Nasal "S" Implant for African American Rhinoplasty

Medical Illustration by Jennifer Gentry

Mastectomy and Breast Reconstruction Info from The Johns Hopkins University Hospital

Cosmetic Surgery Tourism Research Project

Reality TV Makeover Shows

Cosmetic Surgery and Film


A 'Frozen' PDF Version of this Living Book

Download a 'frozen' PDF version of this book as it appeared on 7th October 2011
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