December 3, 2021

Should aesthetic surgeons give patients an ‘alienized’ look?

Could it lead to mental illness?

A normal face (left) and a digitally manipulated visage (right) showing the “alienized look” DR. STEVEN HARRIS/HARRIS CLINIC

Cosmetic surgeons in Hollywood are concerned that their colleagues are giving clients a bizarre “alienized” look which could lead to mental illness.

“Our industry is fast becoming a breeding ground for mental health illness. … What sort of twisted standard of beauty are we creating for the younger generations and how does it affect those with mental health disorders such as Body Dysmorphic Disorder?” writes London cosmetic surgeon Dr Steven Harris on Instagram.

“Things have gone really wrong in the field of aesthetics,” he told Hollywood Reporter.

“The practitioners who are performing this outrageously excessive work have very vivid imaginations. What they’re doing is trying to create new anatomy that doesn’t exist, and patients wind up looking like another species,” says another doctor, Ben Talei. And Dr. Julius Few of The Few Institute in Chicago, commented: “Our anatomy is designed to sit in a certain way, and the goal is to subtly restore and enhance. Conversely, what this extreme look is doing is manipulating the face well past the natural boundaries of a given area, and it’s an absolute mistake.”

The fad is partly motivated by social media, the doctors believe. “Consumers can look at before and after photos and videos all day long,” says one. “They are inundated with these images, and it drives insatiable interest.”

Dr Harris is campaigning for change – although whether his colleagues will listen to him is uncertain. “Those of us in aesthetics are in the midst of a war against alienizing patients,” he says. “We as practitioners need to take responsibility — our duty is to first do no harm, and that is not being fulfilled now.”

Michael Cook is editor of BioEdge  

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