Are You Crossing the Line?

A nip and a tuck can enhance your look, but do some cosmetic surgeries go too far?

“Plastic surgery can be a real positive, good thing,” plastic surgeon Dr. Drew Ordon says. “But there are the right reasons and the wrong reasons [to get plastic surgery].”

Erase Your Race?
Would you alter your ethnic features if given the chance?

Janine, a 22-year-old of Asian decent, says she feels that bigger eyes are more beautiful. Surgeon of Asian plastic surgery Dr. Charles Lee widens Janine's eyes with a double eyelid surgery. Janine also undergoes a rhinoplasty and chin implant to balance out her features. See Janine in the operating room.

“Blepharoplasty, or eyelid surgery, is the most-requested treatment by Asian-American patients,” Dr. Ordon says.

Approximately half of all Asian people are born with mono-lids or a "single eyelid" without a crease. The eyelid surgery is a one-hour procedure that creates a natural-looking fold in the eyelid to give it a larger, rounder appearance. The patient is first given local anesthesia, then a small amount of excess skin on the lid, tissue beneath the lid and fat pads are removed. Recovery time is approximately six weeks and the results are permanent.

Dr. Lee and Janine join The Doctors one week after the surgery, and Janine says she’s happy with her results. “I look more alert and outgoing,” she says.

Host of Style Network’s How Do I Look?, Jeannie Mai, who is also of Asian descent, does not advocate eyelid surgery. “I really love the shape of my eyes,” she says. "The surgery is polluting our culture. Every single person was made to be completely individual.”

“When I see [Jeannie] right now, I see big eyes and eyelash extensions to make your eyes look even bigger,” Dr. Lee retorts. “The only difference is, I’m using a knife and you’re using makeup.”

"I like the different styles I can acheive through makeup," Jeannie responds. "I can make my eyes five times bigger than they are now [without surgery.]"

Cindy, 19, recently underwent the double eyelid procedure as well. She says she is so pleased with the results that she plans on having it done again to widen her eyes further.

“I am an Asian-American, and my pressure [to undergo the surgery] came from Asian culture, not Western culture,” she says. “The point wasn’t to fix my sleepy-looking eyelids, but more of the obligation to look pretty for my Asian counterparts.

“If you put a picture of Caucasian eyes next to Asian eyes, they are completely different,” Cindy adds. “The double eyelid surgery given to most patients is to flatter the Asian eye. We see it as getting a prettier, softer look. We’re not trying to Westernize our eyes.”

“Whatever you decide to do, you have to do your homework,” Dr. Ordon says. “Since it is surgery, there is the potential for complications. Make sure it’s a board-certified surgeon who specializes in the type of plastic surgery you want to have done.”

• Would you consider changing your ethnic features? Tell us here!

“I Want to be Fake”
If you’re a parent, chances are you’ve given your kids incentives to clean up their rooms or to bring home a better report card. Some may think Bonnie, 41, takes it to the extreme with her 23-year-old daughter, Whitney. The stars of Style Network’s Big Rich Texas join The Doctors to defend Bonnie’s controversial parenting strategies, such as offering Whitney lip enhancement surgery for removing an offensive tattoo and breast augmentation for completing her undergraduate studies with straight As.

“She would go behind my back and do it anyway. I want her to go to the best doctor,” Bonnie says.

“I want to be fake,” Whitney says. “I look at Barbie and she’s perfect and I want to be perfect.”

 • Would you reward your child's report card with cosmetic surgery? Vote here!

Down Syndrome Plastic Surgery
Down syndrome is the most common cause of human birth defects and affects 3,400 babies every year in the United States.

Parenting Debates

• It is ever OK to snoop through your child’s diary?

• Should a child ever be advised to diet?

E.R. physician Dr. Travis Stork explains that human cells normally contain 46 chromosomes, while a person with Down syndrome has 47. The extra chromosome causes problems in how the body and brain develop, which can lead to cardiovascular issues and mental impairment.

There are specific facial features that characterize an individual with Down syndrome, which can include a flattened nose, smaller chin and protruding tongue. Because of this, a growing number of parents are turning to plastic surgery to help their children with the condition appear “normal” on the outside. This approach has raised controversy among families.

“If I can make a [non-Down child’s] life better I don’t see why a Down syndrome patient should be denied that same opportunity,” says pediatric plastic surgeon Dr. Ram Kalus.

Director of Programs and Outreach for the Down Syndrome Association of Los Angeles, Gail Williamson, whose 32-year-old son, Blair, has Down syndrome says these procedures have gone too far.

“Years ago, when I first heard of the surgery, it sounded wonderful,” Gail says. “Now I think it sends the wrong message.”

Gail says that as Blair grew older, she realized the importance of his physical characteristics. The specific features of Down syndrome help people regnognize that Blair has a condition so they can reach out and help him.

“Blair gets more good things from his face than negative,” she adds.

“You have to look at the individual case,” Dr. Kalus says. “We live on Planet Earth, and on Planet Earth, appearance matters.”

Pediatrician Dr. Jim Sears says his family once considered the surgery for his brother Stephen, who has Down syndrome, but decided against it.

“We talk about trying to create normalcy,” Dr. Sears says.  “But with Stephen, we could make him look normal on the outside, but he’s not normal on the inside.”

“If we learned anything on this show, it’s that children with Down syndrome should be celebrated for the unique characteristics they bring to life,” Dr. Travis says.  “We should not normalize them.”

• Do this surgery cross the line? We want to know what you think.

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OAD 10/12/11