We have had some interesting reality programs on television about plastic surgery: Extreme Makeover (ABC), The Swan (FOX), I Want a Famous Face (MTV), Plastic Surgery: Before and After (TLC), Dr. 90210 (E!) and Miami Slice (Bravo). They are fun to watch and also give us some knowledge about cosmetic procedures, the people who have them, the doctors who perform them, and what happens before and after a procedure. The important thing to remember is that reality television is not about “reality.” So what you see on TV is not exactly how it is in real life. There are no professional actors but it is fairly common to use airbrushing or multiple takes or to employ drama to make the program interesting.
So if you are making an opinion about plastic surgery based on reality television, you may be somewhat disappointed. First of all, you will find out that going into surgery is also pain and suffering, something that you may not appreciate on TV. Plus, your results may look nothing like those on TV.
“It is unfortunate that patients are turning toward the entertainment industry for educational information — we had hoped for different results,” said Dr. John Persing after finding out in a study that many patients refer to what they see on television during a consultation. “These shows may create unrealistic, unhealthy expectations about what plastic surgery can do for you. Although it’s called reality TV, it may not be reality.”
So what is the message here?