Many women ill-informed of cosmetic surgery risks
COSMETIC surgery should be held up to increased public scrutiny, an academic has argued, as many female patients are not adequately informed on the risks of procedures.
A recent study, conducted by Associate Professor Rhian Parker, health sociologist at Australian National University, showed many patients did not appreciate that the surgery would not necessarily give them the outcome they expected.
The study included interviews with 32 women who had undergone a cosmetic procedure plus 19 cosmetic surgeons.
According to Professor Parker the findings, which appear in a new book about cosmetic surgery, uncovered
“divergent assumptions” between cosmetic surgeons and female patients.
“I interviewed nine patients who had breast implants and eight had implants larger than they wanted,” she noted. “[The] patient base for cosmetic surgery is overwhelmingly women, and [doctors] are predominantly men.
“This must inevitably contribute to inconsistent... assumptions about the nature of women’s bodies and what is meant by female beauty and physical acceptability.”
Professor Parker said unwanted outcomes were often the result of patients not asking the right questions and doctors not providing adequate information.
A spokesperson for the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons said cosmetic surgery was largely unregulated, but noted society members were accredited by the Australian Medical Council as specialists.
The society code of conduct stipulated that all patients were fully informed of the risks.
The spokesperson added that while most patients undergoing cosmetic surgery were women, it was not “logical or causal that the gender of the surgeon predicates the assumption of beauty or acceptability”.