Visionaries or Voyeurs? The Ethical Considerations and Implications of Internet Wide Transmissions of Aesthetic Procedures.

As Internet connections have become faster and more reliable, it has become the relative norm for the adoption of such technologies to be used in conjunction with aesthetic surgical procedures to better enhance the surgical experience for both the practitioner (and to a lesser degree, the patient.) However, there are ethical aspects of such work that need to be considered, as a holistic 21st century concern.

Theatre Of The Not So Absurd.

There is nothing new about the voyeuristic aspects of cosmetic surgery. For several centuries past, apparently reputable educational establishments with ties to old world surgeons allowed carte-blanche for the creation of a virtual proscenium performance space. This allowed fellow professionals access to watch and breathe in the vapors of innovation as patients both alive and deceased became objects of study to both the learned and curious at prestigious seats at London’s royal surgical institutions and other hallowed University lecture theatres across the evolving civilized globe; pushing forward the boundaries of medical experience, knowledge and sometimes showmanship.

Visionaries or Voyeurs

Such practices, which may have seemed barbaric at times, where frequently the only way to transmit information to fellow Doctors, intern students and indeed the general public for whom a small fee (in those less than enlightened ethical times), so that they could obtain premier seats to the unfolding and sometimes barbaric surgical action, in real-time.

Technology: Friend Or Foe?

Times may have changed, along with the enhancements to in-patient and clinical ethics and technology. But, do the moral and ethical dilemmas still remain? Since the development of H264/MPEG 4 video transmission technology, it has become the norm for interns to virtually sit in on procedures via the telepresence of inconspicuous cameras looking over the shoulder of or indeed attached to the head of the practitioner as he goes about his surgical craft. But, please let us remember that using such remote viewing platforms is a logical step in the evolution of a now de-riguer product of the sophisticated technologies scientists and engineers have developed since way back in 1927.

Like all developing surgical procedures aesthetic or otherwise, the primary concerns must be for the general good and physical wellbeing of the patient. Previously, with the live transmission of surgical events there have been problematic aspects to be considered; how would bulky camera equipment be placed as not to hinder the work of the Surgeon? What is the sterile procedure for non-organic materials comprising the equipment and indeed the organic technical operators? How will the surgeon react to the videographer and would interaction be to the detriment of the patient? Finally and most importantly, the welfare and care of the patient has to be thoroughly considered; is he/she completely briefed and having been made aware of all aspects, both morally and ethically of how this video footage could be used and also what the implications would be of such recorded materials if things went wrong during the surgery? The legal and ethical implications of a procedure being incorrectly followed in a live streaming event (with a potentially global reach) are too ghastly to contemplate, but we must tackle such issues head on as a sign of the times.

Guided By The Luminaries

Fortunately all branches of aesthetic procedures, like traditional medicine have their own professional bodies that have evolved and are continually evolving to guide in the overt principle that the patient/client must come first in the list of priorities. It is not there just to protect the client and clinician – it is a set of established legal and medical checks and balances that are there to enhance the safety, comfort and successful conclusion of a procedure to the satisfaction of our patients and to protect the reputation of our profession.

With the growth of on-line teaching in Hospitals, educational establishments and private clinics, we need to remember what happens on the internet does not necessarily stay on the internet; with words, video footage, audio recordings and galleries of photographs now theoretically available in perpetuity across these multimedia platforms. Our profession has a duty that is more important than ever – not just to embrace the technology as an educational asset, but we must fiercely guard the privacy, moral and ethical requirements of our patients first and not use such technologies for any grandiloquence’s, whatever they may be, as our profession goes under the knife and over the web.

Dr Ash Dutta, Founder of Aesthetic Beauty Centre, is one of the few highly  trained and accredited surgeons in the UK. To know more about Dr Ashish Dutta read his reviews. The procedures he routinely performs can be found on and an appointment with him can be booked for free.

If you would like to schedule a consultation with Dr Ashish Dutta please book your free consultation or call us on 01915672900.

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