Raffles and Contests Present Ethical Dilemmas for Plastic Surgeons

A new reality series on E! is said to offer plastic surgery procedures  as prizes for soon-to-be brides prior to their wedding day.  The show, “Bridalplasty” is the latest television program to feature plastic surgery, and some say it presents the “most shocking” premise yet.

via ABC news:

Each week, a group of women competes head-to-head in such challenges as writing wedding vows and planning honeymoons.  The winner receives the chance to choose a plastic surgery procedure from her “wish list.” She’s given the procedure immediately, and results are shown at the start of the following week’s episode.

Is it ethical to give away plastic surgery as a prize?  Professional organizations such as the American Society of Plastic Surgeons say it is not and prohibit their members from participating in a raffle or contest in which the prize is a plastic surgery procedure (a treatment requiring an incision).  The ethical objections stem primarily from the possibility that a winner of the contest would not be a suitable or safe candidate for surgery.

Some medical practitioners are not governed by such ethical principles, especially outside the United States.  It’s becoming more and more common to see contests and raffles for procedures that have a broad public appeal, such as breast augmentation for example.

According to Reuters, a Venezuelan political candidate running for office in the National Assembly is raffling off a breast augmentation procedure in an attempt to raise funds for his campaign.  The candidate reportedly went on record saying that the raffle was nothing more than a “financing mechanism.”

Although the winner of such a contest could achieve good results from surgery, raffles and contests are not acceptable replacements for proper patient selection.  If you’re considering breast augmentation, seek out a board certified plastic surgeon who is practicing in accordance with a specific and reputable code of ethics.

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