Q : I would love to sign up for some free plastic surgery. I have never been happy with the way I look. My ex-boyfriends always told me I’m not good enough for them and they could do better. I always wanted plastic surgery but with no money and no time to work extra hours. I’m a single parent of three and try to give them the best. My time and money is for them, they are my life. I’m unable to save for surgery. Please contact me and let me know what I need to do.
A: The possibility of free plastic surgery is certainly appealing. Like a winning lottery ticket, the opportunity to be able to ‘afford’ something you could not previously is intriguing to say the least. But unfortunately, real life is not like a television show. Extreme makeovers for free really only do exist on the television screen. It simply is not provided by any plastic surgeon in any community.
There are a variety of reasons plastic surgeon do not provide cosmetic surgery for free. First and foremost, cosmetic surgery does not usually improve any medical function. Yes it is true it will make one feel a whole lot better about themselves but that is different than reconstructive surgery where the origin of the problem is from a birth defect, cancer, or a traumatic injury. Patients in need of reconstructive surgery are more in need than that of any cosmetic concern. Plastic surgeons have a long history of being very benevolent with their services for reconstructive surgery. Secondly, there are more costs involved than just the plastic surgeon’s time or expertise. The use of the operating room and an anesthesiologist (if needed) must be accounted for. Those providing these costs do not feel or have any obligation to give away their materials and labor. Lastly, free cosmetic surgery does not waive the plastic surgeon from medicolegal liability and exposure. Why should a plastic surgeon assume those financial and professional risks without compensation?
Board-certified plastic surgeons also cannot provide cosmetic surgery as a prize from a contest or giveaway. This is an ethical violation as a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. While many cosmetic surgeons from different specialities freely do promote such contest prizes, board-certified plastic surgeons can not do so.
Dr. Barry Eppley