How to Address Ethical Issues with Cosmetic Procedures

Ethical Issues with Cosmetic Procedures

Contrary to popular belief, the development of cosmetic procedures is not entirely for beautifying purposes. Its primary goal isn’t merely to make people look younger or to have them have a nose job or facelift all for anti-ageing purposes. Medical cosmetic procedures established for ‘fixing’ deformities that may have incurred from genetic defects or significant accidents. Ethics plays a hand in this by making sure that the patient and the attending physician is aware of the limitation and boundaries that cosmetic procedures entail in their health and well-being.

The patient’s right

A patient has the right to proper medical health care. Whether it be from sustained injuries or genetic defect, they are entitled to have their right to a procedure that will better their health. Though ‘healthy’ living may be up for debate as for today’s day and age, it has given a new priority to beauty above health. Ethic and cosmetic procedures seem to clash because of these two principles which put patients and medical professionals in a tight bond when it comes to deciding what is right for a patient.

‘Unnecessary’ procedures

The demand for aesthetic surgery is primarily focused on reconstruction. However, the line between health and wellness blurs as wellness has become attributed to physical beauty. Patients who are not suffering from illnesses but choose to take reconstructive surgery may cause long-term defects to the body. The patients right to autonomy will eventually cross over and contradict the physician’s right to non-maleficence which states that they must not do a procedure that could endanger or damage their patient’s health.

Two warring principles

With the patient’s autonomy being waived as a right to be able to ask for the right to receive treatment, whether it be for medical or aesthetic purposes, has put cosmetic medical professionals in a bind with their principle of non-maleficence. The current popularity of cosmetic surgery to improve one’s physical appearance may not be an issue to most but can prove to be the determining factor for the quality of life a person lives.

The current social climate brings to mind the ongoing popularity of beauty products, treatments, and surgeries. With the validity of plastic surgery as an option to beautify oneself, medical professionals are forced to comply with their customer’s demands. But it’s important to note that above all, beauty is only secondary when it comes to living a full and healthy life. Beauty should not be a health risk.

Founder at Harley St M.D.
Dr. Chia Tan is a UK trained medical doctor that specialises in cosmetic and aesthetic medicine and testosterone replacement therapy. He is qualified as a medical doctor since 2003 and has since trained extensively. He has been featured in several leading magazines as well as invited to appear on TV to discuss aesthetic medicine and the latest cosmetic procedures.
Dr. Chia Tan
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