Scallywag: Do they?
AJ: I think they have to, and from there begins the healing process, the mental healing and only then can I begin to approach the patient with the view of now tending to their physical wounds.
Scallywag: Can you explain what it is that people really come looking for when they come to see you? Are they looking to resemble a celebrity, become super perfect- what? And while we are at it- why has it become so endemic of our culture to want to have plastic surgery?
AJ: I think you have to understand we live in a society which has morphed into heightened and extreme unnatural tendencies- that is to be eternally young and to appear perfect, as adulated celebrities are in the media. And this feeds a kind of neurosis, whereby a person can begin to feel low about themselves, even if you and I think they look great the way they are, they begin to see impurities that they feel if they tend to will solve a lot of issues. So where as 10-15 years ago, this would never have been an issue- it’s the cause of great distress in many people’s lives.
Ultimately when it comes down to it, people come to me because they feel if they can improve their looks or deal with physical maladies they will be accepted and loved by other people.
Scallywag: But has it reached proportions where how people look has become a vapid exercise and the sole determining factor of whether they will be desired and valued, that people are going in and having plastic surgery for things that to an outsider make no sense?
Aj: There’s a clinical description for what you have just described- ‘body dismorphic.’ The way that works is the person can see nothing but flaws in themselves and no matter how many times you re assure them, they desperately want these perceived flaws corrected and addressed. Really it’s a perception issue.
Scallywag: But as a surgeon, don’t you have some moral obligation to tell them enough is enough? That a size F breast is not going to do the trick?
AJ: Personally I wont operate on people like that, cause there’s nothing I can do for them, even if they think I can- it’s all mental. But inevitably they will find a surgeon who agrees to take on their case, screws it up and then they have to come back to me to correct the screw up.
Scallywag: You’re kidding.
AJ: No- it happens all the time. It’s called revision plastic surgery.
Scallywag: Surely these surgeons know they can’t fix the issue, where are their ethics?
AJ: Welcome to capitalism.