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Web Letters | The Nation

Web Letter

Enhancements are one of the thorny problems of elective surgery. In many cases, an enhancement is a restorative surgery. In many other cases, it is a vanity project. It makes far more sense to me to focus on breast reduction surgeries as desirable and permissible; overly large breasts cause a host of bodily ailments to the muscles and bones of the spine, back and hips. Breast augmentation, however, isn't really a necessity, and only serves a psychological palliative. There is nothing at all wrong with having small breasts.

Other plastic surgery, such as botox treatments, are also by and large vanity plates. With rare exception could I or would I find a real necessity for such surgeries.

Vanity surgeries are hugely expensive. I frankly do not think that this is a problem that is only up to the patient and their doctor, if we're speaking in terms of insurance, and surely public insurance.

Lastly, I really don't comprehend the connection between palliative cosmetic surgeries and feminism. I grew up in the '70s and '80s, when feminism was about autonomy. Today, feminism embraces power, which is a wholly different matter. I think there is a huge rhetorical disconnect in place here. Plastic surgeons either perform restorative surgeries and replace missing limbs and fistulas, or they perform face lifts and breast implants. It is not a difficult task to winnow out just where the money is, and whether or not a plastic surgeon is in practice for the money or for the Hippocratic Oath. The patient needs to practice ethics, too.

R. Hoegg

Baltimore, MD

Dec 14 2009 - 11:10pm