WARNING: Links and images in this post may be difficult to look at and are not appropriate for young viewers.
OK, this post is not my usual subject matter. I promise it is a momentary diversion.
Last night I decided to watch Extreme Dr. 90210, thinking it would be, well extreme-but-pretty plastic surgery. Like Heidi Montag-10-surgeries-in-a-day extreme, which I can handle. I had nooooo idea what I was getting myself into. Remember, I’ve been Down Under on and off for more than a year, and this is one show that hasn’t made the journey to Oz. Yet. So forgive me if I’m way behind the times.
Anyway, I truly thought I’d seen it all in terms of the lengths people will go to to change their bodies. I am fascinated by before-and-after makeover shows and articles, and I’ve also seen all the bad plastic surgery, freaky plastic surgery, and did-she-or-didn’t-she plastic surgery sites online. I’m all for cosmetic enhancement, though I lean toward the side of surgery in moderation. Anyway.
This show was eye opening. Some procedures were indeed undertaken with “pretty” as the intended end result—they changed people’s lives for the better. Other procedures, like “body modifications,” are a different story altogether. I don’t know if I’m more horrified that people are putting arbitrary silicone shapes under their skin, or that they’re letting people who are not doctors cut into their bodies, without any kind of numbing aid. They are splitting their tongues, burying crosses in their chests—there is big-time blood loss—and these procedures are being done in non-medical facilities. Oh. My. God.
One girl on the show said she didn’t see the difference between subdermal implants and breast implants. I disagree. Breast augmentation is performed by a medical doctor and (hopefully) a board-certified plastic surgeon, in a sterile medical facility, with an anesthesiologist and surgical nurse on hand. Cosmetic surgery procedures are done by a doctor who has been schooled in anatomy; who knows where nerves, veins, and muscles are; and who can prescribe post-surgery antibiotics to prevent infection. To compare artistic body modification procedures done by unregulated amateurs to licensed, regulated cosmetic surgery is absolute insanity. But then again, anyone who would let some dope with no medical training take a scalpel to their head or body in the equivalent of a tattoo shop isn’t thinking clearly. Case in point:
Oh, and there is more. The above videos aren’t so bad, but show you the kind of environment these procedures are being performed in. Here’s a video of some kid getting his tongue sliced in half in a tattoo shop. I think it’s his tattooist mom that is doing it. Notice how she’s shaking like a leaf. It’s lunacy. What would she do if her boy got a nasty infection and had to have more than half his tongue cut off? And how about the girl in the other videos who let some “body modification expert” jab a metal rod into her chest?
Extreme body modification is unregulated and illegal and many states, and for good reason. It’s not Uncle Sam trying to limit your creative expression, but Uncle Sam trying to limit your risk of something going horribly wrong. If you must do it, at least read Wikipedia’s page on body piercing and the risks associated with it before you toddle off to your local tattoo/piercing shop. Again, if you insist, Google procedures, understand the risks, check out the person who’s going to be wielding the scalpel. Do your homework and ensure that proper sterilization is practiced.