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Reconstruction Surgery is a Modern Miracle - Essay Example

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Joan Rivers once remarked, "I wish I had a twin, so I could know what I'd look like without plastic surgery" (BrainyQuote). America's love affair with science has made it possible for all of us to be a little different, and maybe a little more, than we would otherwise be…
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Reconstruction Surgery is a Modern Miracle
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Download file to see previous pages Yet, few would deny the rationale of performing reconstruction surgery on a child that had been disfigured in an accident. As the practice of treating our mental well being has become more accepted by the medical community, the line between medical, cosmetic, and psychological has shifted and blurred. For millions of people, self-image has become as important as cholesterol in terms of overall health and highlighted the importance of these modern procedures. Reconstruction surgery has offered a viable means to improve our self-image, our mental health, and our enjoyment of life.
The value of any plastic surgery, or reconstruction procedure, needs to be examined on an individual basis to determine its value to the recipient. With the vast array of options available, what may be right for John Doe, may be wrong for Jane. The value of the procedure needs to be measured at a personal level. When examined one at a time, the effect of these procedures can be measured by the impact they have on the individual involved. Our mental well-being is often a direct reflection of the person we see staring back at us as we gaze into a mirror. For millions, cosmetic surgery has provided a way to view themselves as younger and more attractive. Enhanced by the removal of unwanted facial hair, breast augmentation, and liposuction, these individuals become more self-confident, self-assertive, and more at ease with the world around them. As Caplan asserts, "Medical technology has become, in the popular imagination, a way of revealing and displaying an identity that has been hidden by nature, circumstance or pathology". For some this is a medical imperative, while for others it is a modern convenience. In a world of highly competitive career and business, these improvements give them an edge that would otherwise be missing. Their quality of life is improved as they become more of the person that they want to be, more able to meet the world on their terms and not through the eyes of a judgmental and pessimistic world.
Often, plastic surgery is used to correct a feature that society has deemed to be unattractive. This removes the stigma that the person feels in public and provides them a greater sense of individual well-being. This is not excessive. Consider the case of Lucy Grealy, whose face was disfigured by the removal of her jaw during the treatment of bone cancer. She tells of the feeling as, "the deep bottomless pit of griefcalled ugliness" (qtd. in Gleeson). Society has an obligation to provide what is often trivialized as technical enhancements to improve the lives of these patients. It was not trivial to Lucy as she laments, "How could I pass up this chanceto fix my face, fix my life, my soul" (qtd. in Gleeson). This is using science to enhance a life, which results in greater happiness and opens the door to greater opportunity and achievement.
Geary's tale of the stigma that was attached to her physical appearance is revealed when she is allowed to go into public on Halloween wearing a mask. Her appearance was all encompassing to her well being. It inhabited every other feeling she knew. Geary's mental condition was directly linked to her self-perception when she says, "It was easier to slip back into my depression and blame my face for everything" (127). Reconstruction was not a luxury for Geary, it was a necessary step to gain self ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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