Plastic Surgeon Ethics: Would You Go to Your Child's Career Day?

A plastic surgeon in Virginia attended his child's career day, and let kids feel some breast implants (just the implant, not in a patient :) ) They were 4-6th graders. A lot of parents were upset about this. Not only because their kids  were "coppin a feel" of fake breasts, but that they were being exposed to plastic surgery in general at an age where body issues are highly prevelant.

 Do you think this was appropriate? Would you (or have you) attend your child's career day? Maybe without the implants? Curious what other doctors think.

Doctor Answers 14

Plastic surgeons at career day

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I'm glad the plastic surgeon did not offer gender reassignment in his practice...

I would proudly attend such a day, and would point out how plastic surgeons help patients on a daily basis with problems that have been bothering them their entire lives, restore form and function, etc.

Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 194 reviews

Career day

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Yes, I heard about this unfortunate experience. I have often gone to career days at my children's schools.  I have brought the children masks and gloves and explained to them what plastic surgeons do.  I stuck to the appropriate subjects like fixing people's boo-boo's etc..  Bringing an implant to the class was not appropriate in my opinion.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Career day for plastic surgery

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Plastic surgery is a noble and worthy calling, and taking the opportunity to educate children on what plastic surgery is all about is definitely something I would consider. Both children and their parents would benefit from learning that plastic surgery is both cosmetic and reconstructive, and although showing breast implants may have been a questionable choice the fact that they are used to improve the quality of life for mastectomy patients is also an important message.

Richard Baxter, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 59 reviews

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Career Day for the kids

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Yes, I would attend and participate in my children's career day at school.  As with Dr. Rand, I would not talk about cosmetic surgery to that age group.  I would take that opportunity and talk about general health issues and healthy living choices.  I already market myself and my practice during most of my waking hours.  I don't need to do it at an elementary school.  This is just my own opinion. 

Allan J. Parungao, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 41 reviews

Child's Career Day just fine for Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, but not for breast implants!

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I have six children, and attended several of their schools' Career days, Bring your dad to school day, and whatever other venues they or their teachers asked me to attend. My goals were as follows:

     1)  Make my child proud of what I do and let their classmates learn something about how important their own education is, regardless of the professions each of the students will one day choose. Teachers and Principals need all the help with student motivation they can get! Talk about what education is needed to be a doctor, a surgeon, and a plastic surgeon who has the special abilities to repair and restore many things. Gloves, surgical hats, and masks are always welcome props for the little kids (but not for 4th - 6th graders).

     2)  Teach the students (and teacher, and parents, if present) about sunburn, skin cancer (older students only), dog bites, seat belts, and perhaps (again, older students) cleft lip and palate (talked about mission trips and the abject poverty elsewhere in the world and how lucky we are to live in our country). No blood, gore, guts, or shocking photos, please!

     3)  Let the students (and teacher) know how much education it takes to become a plastic surgeon, where the name "plastic surgery" comes from, all of the various things that we are trained and blessed to be able to do, and why I am proud of my profession! Perhaps to influence a young student who just might think it's "neat" to study long enough and hard enough to become a plastic surgeon!

     4)  Make the whole interaction fun, interesting, age-appropriate, and something all the kids would tell their parents about in a GOOD way! I, of course, wanted to be asked back and be appreciated for taking the time to come visit with the students and my own child.

Breast implants, while not inherently bad, are just not appropriate for any age group other than adults only, and even then, you're taking a risk. But not for 4th -6th grade Career Day!

Richard H. Tholen, MD, FACS
Minneapolis Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 263 reviews

Surgeons: Would You Go to Your Child's Career Day?

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I would and i did participate in my children career days.

It is a good opportunity to introduce the children, at an early age, to our great surgical specialty.

Implants are not necessary at this early introduction and may trigger inappropriate questions. 

Erel Laufer, MD
Dunedin Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 35 reviews

Plastic surgery at school career day

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Plastic surgery is a wonderful career and an important one in the array of medical specialties. Any of us would be proud to discuss our career choice at school. Of course breast implants are inappropriate as would be pictures of badly injured patients, however there are topics such as dog bite prevention, minor burns, and skin cancer prevention that would fit into a class discussion very well.

Best of luck,


Peter E. Johnson, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 44 reviews

Career day

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I was invited to speak at my kid's grade school class. Must have been 1st or 2nd grade. I sewed a banana peel together. And talked abou dog bites. I don't think we have to talk about cosmetic surgery.

Robin T.W. Yuan, M.D.

Robin T.W. Yuan, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon

Bringing breast implants to a child's career day is poor judgement

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Bringing a silicone breast implant to a child's school career day for 'show-and-tell' shows poor judgment- what was this surgeon thinking ? The deeper issue at hand is the public's perception of plastic surgeons. We are capable of doing so much more than cosmetic breast surgery. This surgeon could have brought in some before/after photos of Mohs defect reconstructions, or CTs of a facial fracture case. That would have generated some useful discussion and 'teachable moments' on a variety of topics.

The public needs to know that we do far more than cosmetic surgery.

Career Day

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I absolutely would do a career day! Plastic Surgery is not limited to just breast implants. There are so many beneficial procedures that we perform reconstructively ,as well as cosmetically.  There is obviously a claer line as to what is appropriate for children and what is not.

Michael A. Fiorillo, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 107 reviews

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