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Would you let your daughter get plastic surgery for a graduation gift?

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August 17, 2008 10:34PM

Depends entirely on the nature of the plastic surgery, and the reasons for wanting it. For the purposes of this question only, I'd like to break the term "plastic surgery" into three categories: * Remedial * Reconstructive * Aesthetic "Remedial" plastic surgery, for instance, might be used to correct a cleft pallate (or "hair lip"). Besides being psychologically damaging, this type of malady has some very serious physiological ramifications. Extreme cleft palettes can interfere with eating, are sources of infection, and prevent talking... I can go on for a while there. And there are quite a few other pathologies that fall into this category. If your daughter is suffering from one of these, heck yeah -- get it fixed -- IF she wants to and knows the whole process. I'd add on a personal note that, while this can be a life-changing gift, you might consider not offering it as a gift any more than you would offer any kind of important medical remedy. Reconstructive Plastic Surgery, which I'm arbitrarily defining as plastic surgery needed after trauma of some kind, is extremely important to the victim psychologically -- so much so that, for instance, California has made it a law that insurance companies who cover patients requiring a masctectomy (removal of one or both breasts) due to cancer, must pay for prosthetics and the reconstruictive surgery to emplant them (of course if the patient so wishes). In these cases, returning to the body image you once had is hugely important psycholoigcally and in terms of self-image. Again, I'd do it but I'd avoid making it a present -- not sure I'd want thanks for this. Aesthetic or Elective Changes. Depends on the change, the aftereffects and the need at all levels for the change. I think I'd base my decisions on the following: "Would this change strongly improve my daughter's quality of life for the good, especially in terms of self-image, and also have few or no serious aftereffects, and a high chance for success?" Simply having your physically unimpeded daughter increase her breast size from "C" to "D" might be unnecessary and even, in the long run, damaging. However, if there's an aesthetic defect your daughter must deal with that truly damages her self esteem, and would be corrected by a minor, safe surgery, I'd certainly consider it. I'd also talk long and hard to the surgeon as well. It's very easy to say that elective plastic surgery is self-indulgent, vain and merely frippery. However, I've seen at least as many people emotionally scarred by aspects of their appearance that could be easily corrected as I have people who were physically scarred in childhood. Be very careful here, then choose the course that will cause the best long-term prognosis.