Plastic surgery is a young specialism. It has an ancient history, but made important progress only in the twentieth century. Many opinions exist about plastic surgery, ranging from being mere luxury to people ever hungry for beauty, to being the essential profession able to restore a disfigured person's devastated social life. This thesis will both study the history and social meaning of plastic surgery, and demonstrate the impact of plastic surgery by studying a group of young patients undergoing plastic surgery for a broad range of deformities. The significance of this study lies in the application of the study results to the medical ethical question whether one should operate upon a so called non-medical deformity in a most turbulent developmental process, i.e. adolescence. This question needs to be discussed in order to formulate an advice towards plastic surgeons when dealing with adolescents requesting surgical intervention. Related to this question is the broader issue: What is, or should be the role of medicine when dealing with non-medically (e.g. socially) motivated therapies? This general introduction will briefly acquaint the reader with the historical and social background of plastic surgery, with the definitions and issues concerning plastic surgery on adolescents and young adults, and with the medical ethical issues concerning plastic surgery on these young patients. Thus, an overview of research questions and the contour of this dissertation will be given.

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I.D. de Beaufort (Inez) , J.M. Koot (Hans)
Erasmus University Rotterdam
Sophia Scientific Foundation
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Simis, K.J. (2001, October 17). Adolescents and plastic surgery: Psychosocial and medical-ethical issues. Erasmus University Rotterdam. Retrieved from