Straight Talk about Cosmetic Surgery
By Arthur W. Perry, M.D. Pp. 360. Yale University Press, New Haven, Conn., and London, England, 2007. Price: $18.
For many patients, sorting through the complex maze of procedures that make up the ever-expanding field of cosmetic surgery can be a difficult and confusing task. Further complicating this effort is the fact that many new and unproven techniques for rejuvenating the face and body are currently being offered, often by practitioners who either have been poorly trained or possess questionable qualifications for perform-ing these procedures. In an effort to educate patients about the various noninvasive as well as surgical procedures and techniques that are currently being used, Arthur W. Perry, M.D., has written Straight Talk about Cosmetic Surgery. The soft-cover book is geared toward the consumer and is written in an informal style, almost as if the author is engaged in an everyday conversation with the reader. In keeping with this friendly tone, technical information is interspersed with quips and anecdotes about a comprehensive list of surgical and nonsurgical procedures. The listing of traditional cosmetic operations is complete and includes everything from facial aesthetic surgery to breast surgery and body contouring. However, it is the listing of noninvasive techniques designed to rejuvenate the face and body that sets this book apart. It is a current and comprehensive source of information for these types of procedures and explains the various techniques in an understandable fashion. In addition, techniques that are well accepted are clearly delineated from those that are less well proven.
While the information regarding the basic techniques is worthwhile, it is the information regarding how the patient can be proactive in choosing a surgeon that is most useful. The author candidly outlines and explains what role important issues such as training, board certification, experience, and ethics play in being certain that the surgeon offering the procedure is adequately trained and qualified. Nuances such as recognizing the differences between accepted medical board certification and weekend course completion are highlighted, and the issue of nontraditional specialties performing cosmetic surgery is explained in a very straightforward fashion. Throughout the book, the author offers his medical and surgical opinions interspersed with factual technical details about each procedure. Surgeons who counsel patients who have read this book must realize that these opinions may differ from their own; therefore, the book does not substitute for an individual and formal consultation–-an obvious point but one that needs to be emphasized nonetheless. With this in mind, the information contained in the book functions well as a preliminary primer for any patient considering cosmetic surgery and provides necessary insight into how the patient can optimally select the surgeon and the procedure that will provide the desired result.
Dennis C. Hammond, M.D.
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