Cosmetic Surgery in these Troubled Times
Article by Barry H. Dolich, MD
Bronx Plastic Surgeon
You may have heard it expressed as "these challenging times" or "financial storm". By now we all realize that the "red light" and the "fasten seat belt sign" is on, indicating that there is significant financial turbulence ahead. While the government seeks to navigate through this fiscal storm, it must also finally provide a functional and fair healthcare system. In spite of the economy, each of us must press on with our lives, our work and our dreams.
If this were not daunting enough, we must figure out how to provide for an ever-increasing number of elderly people who utilize a high proportion of healthcare dollars during the retirement years. It is also becoming clear that in the new millennium retirement is not 55 or even 65. Now we must work longer to put our collective shoulder to the wheel to support ourselves, our families and our country.
The answer is, and always has been, preventive and proactive medicine. I prefer to call it body maintenance, which can be used to keep an aging population (that is you and me) healthier and more functional during our increasing lifespan. With body maintenance we are in a position to actively participate in life and contribute to the economy rather than draw from it. Health care must take a holistic approach and write a prescription for continued health and well-being. This prescription is a combination of diet, exercise and reduction of unhealthy elements in our environment.
I, and other plastic surgeons, have been witness to the powerful role that cosmetic surgery can play when it is added to this prescription. As a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon with more than thirty years experience, I have seen that the real role of cosmetic surgery in our society is often confused and distorted. We hear so much about recycling of glass, metal and paper, but what about our greatest resource - people! Mature people with hard won knowledge, skills and perspective can play an ever more vital role in our society if they "recycle" themselves by staying healthy and looking as vibrant and as young as they feel.
As the economy spirals down, disposable income dollars, often associated with cosmetic surgery, have become more precious. In many instances these dollars could be used strategically as part of the prescription for proactive and preventive health care. Now, more than ever, each individual must evaluate the role of cosmetic surgery in that plan as we prepare ourselves for these "challenging times".
The question is: is cosmetic the new functional?