Statement from American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons regarding fictional portrayal of plastic surgery in TV show “Nip/Tuck”
Fictional Portrayal of Plastic Surgery Does More Than Miss the Mark
New York, NY — “Nip/Tuck,” a fictional television series that focuses on the personal and professional lives of two plastic surgeons, does not even remotely portray the “real life” world of plastic surgery and does a disservice to millions of patients who benefit from cosmetic procedures, says the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS). ASAPS is the leading organization of board-certified plastic surgeons specializing in cosmetic plastic surgery.
“ASAPS members, and other board-certified plastic surgeons, follow a strict Code of Ethics, developed by our specialty to promote the highest standards of personal and professional conduct,” says ASAPS President Robert Bernard, MD, of White Plains, NY. “The manner in which our profession is portrayed in this new series is absolutely absurd.”
The doctor/patient relationship as portrayed in the series is particularly disturbing to responsible plastic surgeons. Plastic surgeons listen to what bothers patients about their looks and, when appropriate, they offer surgical solutions; data has shown that plastic surgeons try to identify patients with unrealistic expectations, since these people are not appropriate candidates for surgery. Doctors routinely tell patients to expect improvement, not perfection; they do not take advantage of patients’ fears, anxieties or emotional vulnerabilities. Plastic surgeons know that one of the keys to successful surgery is a satisfied patient, and satisfaction is only possible when patient and doctor agree on what can be realistically achieved through surgery.
Cosmetic surgery is not promoted by plastic surgeons as a magic bullet or “fix all” solution to personal problems; the primary gains from cosmetic plastic surgery are enhanced body image, and therefore, enhanced self-confidence. “What plastic surgeons do usually results in men and women looking better and feeling better about themselves, and that is very meaningful — for them and for us,” says Dr. Bernard. “We have enormous respect — both for what is possible through surgery and for the patients who put themselves in our hands.”
The beneficial psychological effects of aesthetic (cosmetic) plastic surgery are supported by a growing amount of peer-reviewed scientific literature. For properly selected patients, aesthetic plastic surgery can be part of a continuum of intelligent self-care that includes lifestyle choices like eating the right foods, exercising, and not abusing cigarettes and alcohol.
“The aim of a dramatic series like ‘Nip/Tuck’ is to shock, titillate and entertain,” says Dr. Bernard. “As plastic surgeons, our only response to this ridiculous program is that viewers should not confuse fiction with reality. Given the outlandish story line so far, it’s unlikely that anyone would.”
The mission of ASAPS, founded in 1967, includes research and the education of plastic surgeons, for the advancement of aesthetic plastic surgery and patient care. ASAPS maintains a web site (www.surgery.org) that provides the public with authoritative information on all aspects of cosmetic plastic surgery, as well as referrals to qualified surgeons. Consumers also may call toll-free for surgeon referrals: 1-888-ASAPS-11 (272-7711).
The 2,100-member American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) is the only plastic surgery organization devoted entirely to the advancement of cosmetic surgery. ASAPS is recognized throughout the world as the authoritative source for cosmetic surgery education. U.S. and Canadian members are certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery or the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.