Tag Archive | “ethics and plastic surgery”

PLASTIC SURGERY TO FULFILL BIZARRE REQUESTS

As obsessions go, this one has to be one of the most spine chilling known to man – someone who would voluntarily file their teeth, split their lip and undergo extensive facial surgery – to turn himself into a ‘human tiger’.

And so goes the story of Native American, Dennis Avner, age 50, whose totem was a tiger and went by the name, “Stalking Cat“. His face, altered to such an extreme that it no longer bore much resemblance to a human being, was as startling to the eyes as the most grotesque Halloween mask. With slanted cat eyes, bulging cheeks, teeth sawed and carved to feline perfection, he even had piercings inserted around his mouth to anchor his whisker in place. But he didn’t stop there. He had his body heavily tattooed with tiger stripes.

After a discussion with a Native chief who inspired him to ‘follow the ways of the tiger’, Avner began his face modifications in an effort to do just as his chief suggested.  And apparently in Native American tradition, it’s not that unusual to try to look like your spiritual inspiration. But I would guess that even Native Americans would say that Avner carried his spiritual quest too far, undergoing modification operations to include bifurcation (splitting) of his upper lip, surgical pointing of the ears, silicone cheek and forehead implants, tooth filing, body tattoos, and facial piercings.

There has been much speculation about the amount of money Dennis must have spent to transform his appearance to that of a wild feline. But here is one thing I haven’t read a word about: Who performed these various procedures – professionals, pseudo professionals or quacks? If the former, here is the question I pose to you: Should a surgeon use his skills to meet his patient’s desires, no matter how bizarre? Or do medical ethics call for this same surgeon to deny his patient access to his surgical skills for the very procedures this patient is requesting?

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Lois W. Stern