Death in exchange for beauty

The passion of some Russians to plastic surgery can be called either a folly or a trend. Plastic surgeons can be called charlatans. However, the scale of the problem does not allow for this simplification. There is a need to talk openly about the fact that no one insured from tragic consequences of plastic surgery, although plastic surgery is one of the safest surgeries out there.

It makes no sense to quote authoritative experts and venerable doctors as the media machine that promotes safety of plastic surgery and implants nearly unattainable standards of human beauty in young brains is hard to fight. In addition, plastic surgery advertising in many ways plays into the weaknesses of potential patients.
But here one can apply the approach that is effective in anti-tobacco campaign: bare facts, naturalistic photographs of the patients.

Last year a study conducted by "ROMIR Monitoring" by order of the Swiss Medical Association revealed that 30 to 40% of the patients of Russian plastic surgery clinics are dissatisfied with the results.
In response one can hear a popular caustic statement about the evil western enemies of the Russian medicine, luring patients to their clinics. The Swiss, indeed, have their reasons to denigrate Russian surgeons as they were hit by the crisis, and their clinics are expensive. But what about Russian valiant forensics officers who argue that 7-8% of the total number of civil cases are initiated with regard to substandard plastic surgery? As a percentage it does not seem like much, but when you consider the total number of cases of medical negligence, it is frightening.

For those who are not afraid of dry numbers, we found some real tragic stories.
There are hundreds of low-quality plastic surgeries. As a rule, they have very unpleasant consequences, but are not fatal. Facelifts may cause the skin to get as tight as a drum. Or, conversely, there may be ugly wrinkles in the most unnatural places. A striking example is a Russian singer Alexa who got oversized lips. She is a celebrity who earns her living with her face. During court proceedings with bad surgeons celebrities can use their star fame. This was the case with a TV presenter Oksana Pushkina who managed to bring matters to a conviction only through a media campaign.

In most cases, high prices for the services of plastic surgeons allow them to avoid prosecution for negligence. The best that can be expected is free error correction that also may be far from perfect. Often the wrong actions of plastic surgeons threaten not the attractiveness but the health of patients and their lives. One of the best examples is a story of a Russian diva Alla Pugacheva, who as a result of plastic surgery performed in Switzerland had heart complications and the doctors had to fight not for her youth, but for her life.

Recent tragic news

January 2009, Moscow: Face lift = cardiac arrest and respiratory system failure, brain edema and blood poisoning.

Some surgeons acknowledge that up to 40% of the patients ask to correct the mistakes of previous "experts." The percentage of deaths is proportional. Last year information leaked to the media about two tragic cases. In January a 35-year-old woman nearly died when she decided to change the shape of her chin. Instead, the lady was given swelling of the brain, heart and respiration issues, and even blood poisoning.

March 2009: Liposuction = DEATH

Much less fortunate was a 40-year-old woman who wanted a liposuction: she had an allergy, followed by respiratory arrest and death.In the U.S. press keeps talking about a plastic surgery scandal. A 58-year-old American woman died after cosmetic breast reduction surgery and liposuction. The death of Donda West, the mother of the famous U.S. rapper Kanye West, immediately attracted media attention and provoked a new wave of the debate about whether or not modern people should seek the mythical "ideals of beauty" at the cost of their lives.

The medical records of West say that she died because of "the already existing coronary artery disease" and "multiple postoperative factors". The phrase "post-operative factors" has attracted media attention and active professionals to this case. Press quotes the opinion of American physicians, who believe that one of these factors could ultimately lead to the death of West. Among them they name the age of the patient, her excessive weight, bronchi disease, too tight chest bandage and others. However, which of the factors proved fatal for 58-year-old West is still unknown. 

According to Russian doctors, in the case of West it was really hard to determine what ultimately led to her death. However, in their opinion, the operation was initially risky. "The very duration of the operation - five and a half hours - is a risk factor. Qualified plastic surgeons prepare patients in advance, especially if there are risk factors such as excessive weight, long surgery and so on. The greatest number of complications leading to death is seen after liposuction or its combination with other plastic surgery.

Risk factors after plastic surgery exist in most cases, experts say. Like it or not, but plastic surgery is as much of an intervention in the human body as ordinary surgery and its consequences do not go unnoticed. According to the research from the U.S., after liposuction patients of all ages are at risk of death. Older people (especially after 65) after the intervention of plastic surgeons often do not live more than three months.
In addition, unsuccessful plastic surgery is often the indirect cause of death of patients. According to research by scientists from Vanderbilt University Medical Center in the U.S., women who have undergone breast augmentation are subject to suicide three times more than others. In addition, women with breast implants are three times more likely to die from alcohol poisoning or drug overdose.

Experts say the number of victims of plastic surgery grows in proportion to its popularity in the world. The reason for the popularity of plastics, in their opinion, is too aggressively imposed standards of beauty. Aggressive advertising of such services creates harmful consumer standards in people and encourages many of them for totally unnecessary surgical change of their appearance.
In the USA, Europe and Russia there are popular TV shows where people go through real plastic surgeries wanting to look like a celebrity. Such stories always include an interview with the patient's relatives who support them and say that plastic surgery changed the patient's life "for the better."

Vadim Kirillov


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Author`s name Dmitry Sudakov