The Kindest Cut
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Most books on cosmetic surgery outline procedures, but Camp takes you right into the OR with the Univ. of Minnesota's Bruce Cunningham, a thirty something plastic surgeon who can tie a gnat-sized knot with virtuosity--and whom Camp comes near to treating like the lifesaving surgeon heroes of bygone convention. Camp begins somewhat defensively with arguments for aesthetic surgery ("beauty is important," as almost 600,000 patients testified with their decisions in 1986), then follows Cunningham through the cuts and tugs and cauterizations of his stock in trade: a face lift (it seems that looking one's age is one of the deformities that merit correction), rhinoplasty (never call it a "nose job"), breast enhancement (to the desired C cup), breast reduction (to a B). Some satisfied patients, we learn, have tummy tucks, then return for breast work or suction lipectomy (spot bulge removal). Lest Cunningham's skills seem frivolously applied, though, the scenes proceed to a complicated scalp job on a severely burned child ("If we can fix this, it might be a paper," says Cunningham, taking photos), an intense leg-saving operation, and a difficult eleventh-hour replacement of an injured boy's smashed thumb with one of his toes. Without losing Camp's admiration, Cunningham comes across as a little self-satisfied and more than a little ambitious: His current goal is to perform the first hand transplant, a project requiring ethics committee approval as it would suppress the patient's immune system for a non-lifesaving procedure. Prospective patients should look elsewhere, then, for an objective assessment of options and implications. But Camp's slick, proficient coverage draws readers in.

ISBN: 8050-0897-7
Publisher: Henry Holt
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