Plastic Surgeons: Beauty Doctors or Merchants of Beauty?

Plastic Surgeons: Beauty Doctors or Merchants of Beauty?

  • Case
  • Teaching Notes

Dr. Cook has been practicing plastic surgery for 29 years. He is a self-described “old-school, left-brained guy” who has built his practice in California entirely by relying on his surgical skills. Although nothing indicates that he is becoming less successful, Dr. Cook cannot help but notice significant changes to the business of plastic surgery, particularly the shift towards a heavy reliance on marketing. Treating the human body like a (surgically) customizable fashion product is a new concept for Dr. Cook. On his return flight from a Medical Korea conference, he wonders whether he works in a medical field or in a beauty-making industry. Questioning the nature of his profession, Dr. Cook is confused about his own mission: is he a beauty doctor or a merchant of beauty?

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