Is having plastic surgery compatible with Catholicism?

There was a 3 minute program on Channel 4 today, in which a woman who was a Roman Catholic and had had plastic surgery spoke about how it was the right thing for her and it was not anti-Catholic to have plastic surgery as God gave you your body.

She wasn’t talking about a “boob job”, but reconstructive plastic surgery. After a major accident she had a massive scar across her face, several teeth missing and she was barely recognisabile. Her family told her it would be un-Catholic to have plastic reconstructive surgery as God had given her her face, she didn’t need it, and it was a test of faith… etc etc.

But she went ahead and had the surgery, and there’s no longer any trace of a scar across her face.

Is that compatible with Catholicism?

What about a young woman in her 20s who wants to have breast implants to make them bigger? Is that different? Is plastic surgery only ok if it’s going to “cure” an unwanted defect? If so, why doesn’t it apply to having breast implants?

The Church has no teaching against reconstructive surgery. The Church does touch on the topic of extreme vanity and warns against it. That could include purely aesthetic plastic surgery.

2289 If morality requires respect for the life of the body, it does not make it an absolute value. It rejects a neo-pagan notion that tends to promote the cult of the body, to sacrifice everything for it’s sake, to idolize physical perfection and success at sports.

I had never thought about whether it was an issue or not, but the way this was presented on channel4 - it was as if it was a debate still and was an issue within Catholicism.

At the end of the short programme, it even invited you to take part in an online debate on its website.

Well, TV programs often attempt make news or controversy where there isn’t any.

I agree. Having reconstrutive sugery is not vanity.

I think reconstructive surgery is fine…

I don’t think that breast implants etc are okay, because that goes into vanity

reconstructive surgery is helping the person to look once more like how God created them. Or to fix a defect that would prevent them from having a normal life. But aesthetic plastic surgery is trying to change the body that God gave, to make it more like how the society wants etc.

I have a friend who conquered her extreme obesity. She is in the midst of several procedures to remove the ridiculous amount of loose skin hanging from her limbs and abdomen. She has to have all 4 limbs done, as well as a tummy tuck and a breast ‘augmentation’ (not really augmented, just fixed)

I am sure God is thrilled that she decided to treat her body with the respect it deserves. I don’t think that having plastic surgery is vain in most cases. Well, except the crazy people that have facelifts until they can’t close their eyes, and others that augment their breasts so they look like pornagraphic cartoons at a GG cup size.

Marketing technique by the company paying for the info-mercial used to engage others in debate and build interest in their product, plain and simple. Medical procedures that are done to repair accidental scars or other defects such as disfigurement are one thing, but vanity surgery is something else again. Along this same line, puposeful disfigurement such as extreme tatooing and body piercings show a disrespect for the beauty of God’s handiwork.

:blush: Some of us have those “cartoon size GG” endownments without having had any surgery/being overweight.

And I agree, I think it is morally wrong to alter your body to stop it doing what it’s meant to do, like ageing! People should be proud of getting old gracefully!

I watched an episode of the real housewives of orange county, and oh my. Those women need to accept that they’re no longer young.

Please forgive me if that comment hurt your feelings. My sister was EXTREMELY large in the bosom before her reduction. I just can’t imagine why anyone would choose to greatly augment their breasts at the expense of their health like some women do. My sisters back hurt from the age of 14 until she was 43 and had a reduction.

If it is natural, it’s NOT a cartoon. Again, my humble apologies.

No offence taken, don’t worry. It’s just that if it wasn’t for my young age many people would assume I had had… surgery, in that area. I do suffer from back pain often but not enough for me to want to have surgery because of it. I may change my mind if I had children though.

My take on elective “vanity” based surgery (i.e. not reconstructive) is as follows:

Not every bad idea is a sin.

I had plastic surgery after my 4th child. I wanted to repair the damage from pregnancies and breast feeding. So tummy tuck, ab repair and breast lift. I checked to sin if it was a sin and could not find it listed as one.

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