OPEN LETTER: Plastic surgeon defends dramatic before-and-after transformation photos

''This attack on plastic surgeons is unjustified and inaccurate.''

By Rebecca Sullivan
Australia's plastic surgeons are currently under fire from their own industry for promoting their work on Instagram, with one of the country's top surgeons coming down hard on his colleagues for posting "sexualised" before-and-after photos on Instagram.
"There are many examples of photographs of photos re-posted by surgeons that are demeaning, objectifying or present sexualised imagery," Dr Richard Theile, the head of the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeon's Ethical Committee wrote in a widely-publicised editorial last week, as reported by The Sydney Morning Herald.
But some of our most popular plastic surgeons, who use Instagram to show potential clients exactly what they can expect from expensive surgeries such as breast augmentation and popular "mummy makeovers", are firing back, arguing they're simply giving patients exactly what they want – transparency.
Now one of Australia's most respected and in-demand female plastic surgeons, Dr Anh Nguyen, exclusively tells Now To Love why showcasing her – admittedly, sometimes jaw-dropping – before-and-after patient transformation photos on social media isn't just about self-promotion, but about helping women make informed choices about their bodies.
Read her open letter below.
Dr Anh Nguyen is one of Australia's most popular female plastic surgeons. Her 50,000 Instagram followers love seeing how she transforms women's bodies, even using the hashtag #DrAnhAngel to curate the photos. Instagram
This attack on plastic surgeons is unjustified and inaccurate.
I personally believe that social media provides a tool for plastic surgeons to showcase their work, share their patients' before and afters or stories and provides a platform for open honest discussion, information, and education.
This is important today for patients selecting who to trust to help them achieve their goals as they know more than ever before and want to review as much as possible to make their informed shortlist of surgeons they wish to consult with.

When selecting a surgeon, patients will likely choose based on how the values and principles of the surgeon they are choosing resonates with their own core values.
Social media provides surgeons with platform to show patients just that.
It's in real time and can show the reality of behind the scenes, showing absolute transparency to the discerning consumer.

To assume patients are swayed by traditional advertisements, featuring generic stock images, is to be ignorant about how discerning our potential patients are. They look for experience and qualifications such as a FRACS (Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons) and to see if they are a member of ASPS (Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons).
I personally use social media to showcase my own work - real patients of all sizes, shapes and backgrounds - to provide an honest insight into what is real and possible and to offer hope for those who think they have to live with something that affects their life on a daily basis.
If we are really concerned about patient safety, then it is in the public health interest and the patient's interest to allow plastic surgeons to champion the message of what they do, how it is achieved and why go to a specialist plastic surgeon, through ethical marketing and sharing real patient cases and stories.
WATCH BELOW: Dolly Parton's transformation in pictures. Story continues after video.
I fully support the ASPS (code and the principles of ethical practice and integrity for the benefit of patients.
I do not believe plastic surgeons are to blame for the problem of making false claims and degrading marketing.
That blame rests solely in the cosmetic surgery space, where many non-qualified practitioners and non-plastic surgeons pass themselves off as surgeons, with the space dominated by false advertising and alluring marketing promotions.
The danger in restricting what plastic surgeons can say, showcase and do is means we are not championing our speciality, as well as how amazing and life changing the work we do is.
Find our more about Dr Anh at dranh.com.au
Do you have a plastic surgery story you'd like to share? Email rsullivan@bauer-media.com.au

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