"Bridalplasty": Plastic Surgery as a TV Prize?


But Dr. Barry Weintraub, a plastic surgeon and spokesperson for the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, says that one or multiple procedures before going to the altar, even unbeknownst to the groom, are not so unusual.

"This is not new stuff. Brides for decades have had things done before their wedding and they often get people who get touch up things like lifers, Botox. Multiple procedures have been done at the same time for decades and there's nothing wrong with that either," he says. "It only goes too far when it resembles body dysmorphic disorder, when women have unrealistic expectations or are doing it for someone else and not for themselves."

Body dysmorphic disorder, or BDD, is a psychiatric condition in which patients are preoccupied with perceived flaws that can never be fixed. The desire for multiple and continuous cosmetic surgeries is a major warning sign for BDD, especially if the patient is never satisfied after the procedure, Olivardia says.

"I would wonder whether these contestants have BDD. I think you should be looking closely at these women's self esteem before you operate, and I would question surgeons who perform these types of surgeries for people who clearly have an agenda as to what they want to look like," he says.

Weintraub: "It's a real psychological problem and it's up to use as professionals to pick that out and go out of our way not to operate on them."

A Break in a Surgeon's Code of Ethics?

From a medical and ethical standpoint, many plastic surgeons objected to the use of plastic surgery as a prize to be fought over in the new show.

"It's a bad idea on two counts. One, they're rushing a surgery which is dangerous, and more importantly it's totally unethical to offer plastic surgery as the result of winning a contest," says Dr. Garry Brody, professor emeritus of plastic surgery at the University of Southern California.

Technically, "Bridalplasty" may skirt the American Society for Plastic Surgeons' code of ethics, says the society's president-elect, Dr. Michael McGuire. While Dubrow will offer surgery to the show's winner each week, he will have previously evaluated the contestant and pre-approved all the procedures on her "wish list" -- enough to satisfy the code's requirements.

While McGuire calls the show embarrassing to the field and says the society frowns upon taking a "well-recognized specialty down into this level of entertainment," he says that without an actual violation of the code, there is "nothing we can do about it."

Inquiries made to Dr. Dubrow were not immediately returned.

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