Anglia Ruskin lecture focuses on cosmetic surgery and self image

Published: 12 December 2005 at 14:26

Anglia Ruskin University's Institute of Health and Social Care (IHSC) has hosted the inaugural lecture of Professor David J Smith, Jr, who is an eminent Plastic Surgeon from the USA.

During his brief visit to the UK, Professor Smith, who is Professor and Chairman of Plastic Surgery at the University of South Florida, addressed an audience of academics, healthcare professionals, and university students on The Scalpel of Youth: The Relevance of Body Image and Ageing. The lecture took place at the Auditorium of the Ashcroft International Business School at Anglia Ruskin University's Rivermead Campus in Chelmsford.

Professor Smith, who has a long association with the private Capio Springfield Hospital, in Chelmsford, discussed how individuals perceive and view their bodies during the natural ageing process, what is important to them, and how they feel about their self image before and after cosmetic or 'aesthetic' surgery.

During the lecture he looked at the physical, mental and emotional challenges and changes people experience while ageing and discussed the durable effects that cosmetic surgery can have on a person as an improved appearance enhances self image.

Professor Smith explains:

"A stable self image can enhance quality of life and that is why there is such a steep increase in the volume of cosmetic surgical procedures, both in the USA and the UK."

Cosmetic surgeons around the world must spend more time establishing the reasoning behind the individual's wish for surgery to understand more about ageing and self image. 

He continued:

"Self image is critical to self esteem and our physical image generates much of our self image. The public perception is that cosmetic surgery is for the young and beautiful, but the reality is that two out of every three patients are over 35 years of age. The largest group of patients are aged between 35 and 50.”

"Perceived age can be just as important as biological age to individuals and more and more people are choosing to delay the normal ageing process via surgery."

In the USA there has been a 1.4 fold increase in plastic reconstructive surgery within the last decade compared to an 8 fold increase in cosmetic surgery. The top five surgical procedures over the period include liposuction, breast augmentation, eyelid surgery, tummy tucks and face lifts. Four out of five of these procedures are linked directly to age.

While cosmetic surgery is still a female dominated market in the USA, worth $6.3 billion Dollars in 2004, the male market is starting to catch up ground at a staggering $2.1 billion Dollars worth of surgery for the same year.

Professor Mike Cook, Anglia Ruskin's Dean of the Institute of Health and Social Care (IHSC) said:

“We are delighted to have been able to host this key lecture from Professor Smith, a plastic surgeon of immense standing within the worldwide healthcare sector.”

"The IHSC has developed and delivered many successful courses based around burns and plastic surgery care. We are now pioneering some of the very first cosmetic surgery courses in the UK for nursing staff, to help cope with the increase in demand for these specialist nursing skills."

Anglia Ruskin is working in partnership with leading plastic surgeon Jim Frame and his colleagues at the Capio Springfield Hospital in an attempt to bring rapid progress to plastic surgery nursing care practices, within the cosmetic field. 

Jim Frame explains:

"There is a global requirement to bring cosmetic practices up to the same exacting standards that dominate the reconstructive field. The education and training programmes that Professor Smith, the Capio Springfield Hospital and Anglia Ruskin University are currently devising will help to achieve this important aim.”

"If we can incorporate just some of the practices of the worldwide experts into the training programmes we devise for our nurses, support staff and consultants, we will be better equipped to deliver excellence in the UK with respect to cosmetic surgery provision."

Karen Pym, a lecturer practitioner working with Anglia Ruskin University and the Capio Springfield Hospital initiated the development and validation of the cosmetic surgery training programme to assist nurses to develop an in-depth understanding of the key elements of cosmetic surgery throughout the client's experience. The programme intends to address the physical, psychological and social implications of the surgery.

Anglia Ruskin University has developed a number of leading Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Acute Care courses for nursing staff, including Diplomas and BSc (Hons) Degrees in Burns and Plastic Surgery Care. A new Diploma in Cosmetic Surgery Nursing will start in January and a Degree programme for young consultants will soon follow.

A two-day 'live' cosmetic surgery conference involving the Capio Springfield Hospital and Anglia Ruskin University is planned for Summer 2006.

The IHSC plans to host further professorial lectures during 2006.

For more information on IHSC courses or on the forthcoming conference, contact Anglia Ruskin University on 0845 271 3333.