Custom Order Surgery

Supposing you figured out a completely new body modification or some fix that you want done to yourself. It requires some level of surgical skill to perform and a basic knowledge of anatomy. So clearly, you’d like an experienced surgeon doing it.

For this scenario, assume you have significant, but finite financial resources. So you can afford to pay a reasonable medical bill out of your own pocket.

You prefer to avoid self-surgery. Even if you had the necessary skill, some of the angles are awkward and hard to see. And you risk passing out.

You are confident that you can explain the procedure in sufficient detail such that a practitioner skilled in the art can successfully perform the surgery.

How difficult would it be to find your surgeon? Do you just find the person with the best resume, or would most medical folks refuse to do a completely new surgical procedure? Would you have to settle for someone who isn’t a practicing surgeon?

Assume there’s nothing illegal about this surgery – no cloning, no genetic manipulation, no removal of bullets without reporting it to authorities, etc.

Clearly, cosmetic surgery and elective surgeries exist. And people with very little training can get licensed to perform body modifications like piercings. But does custom order surgery present additional difficulties?

As I understand it, licensed MDs can get away with quite a lot. If in their judgement, the procedure you are asking for is a good idea, they can do it. The hospital they work for may refuse to assist, and the insurance companies may refuse to cover work done by this doctor in the future, but I think they can do it.

For some reason, no surgeon in the United States is willing to install a prototype neural implant that can give a blind person limited vision. Surgeons in Europe are willing to do it.

There is this stumbling block called medical ethics that some surgeons find bothersome, to one extent or another.

A way to look at ethics (in any profession) is this: There are many kinds of possible activities that a professional practitioner could gain some benefit from aside from simply getting paid money that might not be in the client’s best interest. In other words, conflict of interest. Obvious examples are male doctors or masseurs seducing their female clients and having an affair with them.

But a fundamental paradox is that the practitioner is in a bad position to make an unquestionable and unquestioned judgment when faced with such an opportunity.

The solution is for each profession to develop a pre-defined list of predictable unacceptable behaviors, that each practitioner is sworn to eschew, without the practitioner having to exercise any personal judgment. Unfortunately, that list, just like laws passed by legislatures, can never be so complete and so detailed that it covers every last nuance of every last situation that could ever arise.

So, there can be cases where a practitioner is forbidden from providing some service even if it really is in the client’s best interest. A major example would be a doctor providing euthanasia for a patient, even where the patient is clearly suffering horrendously, with no hope of ever improving, and is begging to die. Or even the lesser cases of palliative care, where there is all kinds of red tape that leaves gruesomely suffering patients gruesomely suffering.

The idea of ethics means nothing more nor less than that pre-defined list of practices that any professional practitioner is forbidden to perform, because it is felt that it would not be in the client’s best interests.

For exactly that reason, I think “ethical” doctors would be hesitant to perform the kind of custom surgery that the OP envisions. They are taught a fixed and finite list of procedures, and generally any kind of creative experimentation would be frowned upon, I would think.

There are nonetheless, no doubt, doctors who would do it, just as there are reputedly a lot of doctors who do euthanasia. But very quietly, very under the table, and not openly spoken of. So good luck finding one.

Probably not a problem just ask her