Botched plastic surgery always hits the headlines – and rightly so. All of us should expect the highest standard of care when undergoing any kind of medical care – and plastic surgeons do need to be accountable for their actions. It’s not possible to comment historically on Ms Duvall’s journey, but sadly, for those of you seeking facial or body rejuvenation, it can be used to illustrate some pitfalls to avoid.
Putting your face (and body for that matter) into the hands of a surgeon takes a great deal of trust and should not be undertaken lightly.
I suppose the big questions in Ms Duvall’s case that need addressing are: 1. Was she pressurised into surgery over the years? 2. Was she too young at 17 to decide to enlarge her breasts? 3. Should she have been investigated for body dysmorphia syndrome?
Having spoken with Ms Duvall today on ITV’s This Morning, she is understandably angry and places a big emphasis on the financial gains certain surgeons made from her repeated surgeries. Although I am unable to comment on the specifics of her case, it would be naive to suggest that financial gains were not a big part of private practice – almost all private medical facilities are now profit making businesses. However, the majority of bone fide plastic surgeons adhere to a strict code of conduct and guidelines outlined by their professional bodies, such as EBOPRAS, BAAPS and BAPRAS, and would never place financial gain above the wellbeing of patients.
We will always be presented with a small number of patients who have inappropriate expectations, and in these cases, we must always either decline to treat or refer to a reputable psychologist for assessment.
Was she pressurised into surgery over the years? I can’t comment on this, as it’s all anecdotal…she feels she was. If this is the case then it certainly should not have happened.
Should a 17yr old have breast augmentation surgery? In my opinion yes, in some circumstances it is obvious that the breast glands are not maturing, and it is in these cases appropriate to enhance a woman’s breasts to fit her frame. My professional ethos is ‘body proportion and not disproportion’ and often politely decline to operate on women who ask for caricature-like results.
3. Should she have been investigated for body dysmorphia syndrome. Most certainly I would have raised concerns mush earlier in her journey.
To offer some balance to her case, Ms Duvall does admit that she was not truthful about her age at the time of her initial breast enlargement. Ultimately, yes, of course you must be able to trust your surgeon, but equally your surgoen needs to trust you – be honest when recording medical and surgical history and where possible allow access to your GP. After all, it’s a two way street.