According to this article from today’s New York Times, in order to defray costs for their patients and to tap into some (almost) free, very personal advertising, some plastic surgeons have started offering cash incentives for patients who choose to put videos of their surgeries on YouTube. Aside from the major EW factor (which, as someone who tends to be against plastic surgery and who can’t so much as stand the surgery scenes in Nip/Tuck, I find pretty damn creepy), there are all sort of ethical questions. The main question is how much trust potential patients can put in these videos when the person raving about the treatment has been paid to rave. In some cases, it’s no small chunk of change: one Beverly Hills surgeon discounted a woman’s face-lift from $12,000 to $3,800 in exchange for the patient posting her before-and-after video on YouTube. Wowza.
I’m too chicken too watch any major surgeries, but at your own risk of boredom, take a look at this Botox video. If you want to actually see the injection, which is just as boring as the rest, go to about 3:00 minutes in.
Didn’t think cosmetic surgery could ever be so boring, did ya?! Also, I love that this woman’s hair is stuck in the ’80s, even though her cosmetic medical treatments are totally modern.
One New York doctor, who pays his patients significantly less to go public than the Beverly Hills surgeon, doesn’t see the money as having any major ethical effect on the advertising. I love this quote:
“If it were truly a conflict of interest, then 90 percent of the patients would do it because it would be so worth their time,” Dr. Chynn said. “New Yorkers are so busy. They’re not in Kansas. We’re not talking about Dorothy and Toto.”
Um, touche? (And way to make an insulting, confused blanket statement about Midwest there, Dr. Chynn.) But with costs of plastic surgery so high, it’s no wonder that many people disagree with Dr. Chynn. In fact, one of his patients (who underwent Lasek surgery, which is different from Lasik in ways that I don’t care to get into/don’t understand), essentially said that he’d do the promotional video no matter what the circumstances were: “I’ll do anything to save money,” he said.
I suppose that you could argue that the discounted costs are making this whole plastic surgery thing a little more egalitarian. (Face-lifts and breast implants aren’t just for Hollywood’s rich and famous anymore! Now even you frumpy Kansas women, with all that time on your hands, can go under the knife too!) Personally, I think it’s just plain weird. But who knows? Maybe when I get all wrinkly and have real bills to pay, I’ll appreciate the discount, and the fifteen minutes of fame.
P.S. One of the patients interviewed for the article is named Jiffy Reed. Got a thing for peanut butter, there Mom and Dad?
[Posted by Mallory]