At a party recently, between sips of her spritz, a friend commented: ‘I know those plastic surgery games for kids have been attracting negative attention in the press, but I guess you’re in favour of them?’ I nearly choked on my Bellini. Where to begin?
A couple of clicks of my mouse and I entered a virtual hospital where I could perform complex operations and make life and death decisions. Where to start? A little light eye surgery, followed by some pericardium correction, a scoliosis repair and on to some open heart procedures. That’s once I’d assembled the best team of virtual colleagues, of course.
Actually I’m keener to specialise in plastic surgery. Up on my screen pops a virtual face with an array of tools. So let’s augment the lips: I move the syringe and press the virtual plunger. Oh, wait, there’s an incision suggesting I add an implant. It’s quickly sutured and the glossed lips are plumper. Result!
Now to the nose. Absent mindedly I make an incision lengthwise, inject, swab, suture and apply a cast. Surveying the finished result, I’m not entirely satisfied. I need to go gently on the filler next time. No worries, I erase and start again.
A bit of fun? Or a game that belittles the skill of surgeons who have trained for thousands of hours to attain consultant status. Just a game? Not to the victims of untrained practitioners suffering complications. A time waster on your mobile while waiting for the train? Yes, but also encouraging body dissatisfaction and giving the mistaken impression that surgery can be undertaken lightly, with no appreciation of the journey and post op results.
So forget the virtual world and look up from your mobile. If you are thinking about surgery, arrange to see a consultant plastic surgeon who is a member of the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons: highly trained, tightly regulated, who makes it their business to see you right before, during and after your treatment. Not the cheapest but the best. Straight talking, highly skilled, first and foremost a doctor, with patient well-being their priority. It’s not a game, it’s your body – seek the best.
Catherine Cowen writing as Patience Wellbeing, Plastic Surgery Blogger