What’s in the Daily News?
I’ll tell you what’s in the Daily News.
Story about a man who bought his wife a . . .

Wait! Stop the presses! I’ll tell you what’s really in the Daily News. It’s a story about plastic surgery. There’s also one in the New York Times, in the Los Angeles Times, in magazines, on television, and on a whole bunch of Web sites.

Item: “In a Surgery Capital, a Swirl of Fraud Charges” (New York Times, July 10, 2005). Patients are paid to undergo surgery (including plastic), and the surgeons fraudulently bill insurance companies for it.

Item: “Nip/Tuck Times Two” (Los Angeles Times, July 4, 2005). “When one identical twin has cosmetic surgery, the other one often does too. After all, looking alike is a big part of their bond.”

Item: “Is Cosmetic Surgery Right for You?” (Parade magazine, June 19, 2005). In this case, the “you” is men.

Item: “Some states are imposing taxes on cosmetic treatments of all types. New Jersey began the trend last fall by levying a 6% vanity tax; similar plans have since been proposed in Washington and Illinois. . .” (Self magazine, May 2005).

Item: As if in anticipation of the previous story, “Medical Community of Illinois Urges No Vote on Cosmetic Surgery Tax” (press released dated March 9, 2005, on www.plasticsurgery.org, the Web site of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons).

You get the point. You can’t get away from plastic surgery. Don’t even get me started on all the “reality” shows on television. Or the ads in virtually any general-readership magazine you pick up. What are we to make of all this?

To continue with the Guys and Dolls theme,

What’s happening all over?

I’ll tell you what’s happening all over . . .

What’s happening all over is that people are hearing about, reading about, and having plastic surgery. What does this mean to you as a plastic surgeon?

It means that, like it or not, you’re in the public eye. If you do great work, you will be noticed. If you work on someone famous, you’ll also be noticed. These are good things for your practice. Conversely, if you botch a job, especially on a celebrity, you’ll be noticed in ways that you won’t like. There may be as many as three adverse consequences:

• you may be sued for malpractice;

• you may lose patients because of bad publicity; and

• plastic surgery as a profession may take a hit.

To expand on an old saying, don’t do (or say) anything that you wouldn’t want to wind up on the front page of your local newspaper, as the lead story on the 11 o’clock news, or spread all over the Internet. Plastic surgery is one of the most visible professions in the country, and you need to be aware of that with every lift, augmentation, and reduction you perform.