Would it be ethical for a doctor to do this?

If someone had a mental self-image of themselves as being much older than they really are, could a doctor perform plastic surgery on this person to make them appear older than they are, if it was all cosmetic changes that did not actually harm the person, i.e. wrinkling of skin, depilation of the scalp, surgery to make the breasts sag more, etc.?

Secondly, (and this may be better suited for IMHO), would it be morally acceptable for this person to take advantage of reduced prices for senior citizens, to date people who were only interested in people of that age, and to represent themselves to others as an elderly person, if they truly felt that they were an “old soul”?

A lot of people have a different self-image from what they are. Some people have deep-seated feelings that they are a different gender than what their genitalia might suggest. Many people wish to look youngerNot a,“more normal”, or “more beautiful”. A few wish to look older, have an amputated limb, et cetera.

The reasons behind these feelings are often complex and may be influenced by disease (including mental disease), development, events in their past, personality, the patient’s take on society and social norms, and lots of other factors. For that reason, almost any place that does gender altering surgery would insist on psychological testing. Such testing is probably in the best interest of the patient since it might help determine of their are other issues (e.g. psychosis), if surgery is the best way of addressing the problem, reduce impulsive decisions that the patient might later regret, etc. The best surgeons I know would almost certainly insist on such testing for a case like this.

Not all surgeons are equally ethical. There was a good article in Harper’s magazine in July 2001 (on the net, if you google “dr. daedalus wings”) talks about an eccentric plastic surgeon who dreams of giving people wings. You could argue making someone look younger is not philosophically different from making people look older, but most plastic surgeons do not insist on psychoanalysis before injecting some botox. I would not expect such a cavalier attitude towards looking older, since it is less common and more visibly against social ideals. Some people might find this hypocritical.

The doctor has an ethical obligation to try to prevent harm and maximize benefit to the patient, act in the best interest of their patient, respect patient autonomy, distribute resources fairly and without discrimination, etc. I suspect many surgeons would conclude psychotherapy might be more beneficial than an operation for many of these patients.

With regards to OAP discounts, I am not convinced it would be legally permissible to obtain these, nor would such a person necessarily have acceptable non-fraudulent ID despite their appearance. I personally would not find it morally acceptable, either. If a plastic surgery operation could make someone 46 look 6, should they get into the zoo for free?

Sorry for the typo. Of course many people want to look younger, more normal or more beautiful (whatever that means). The Harper’s article is worth googling.

So you think a doctor would be OK to provide plastic surgery to someone who wanted to be something that society sees as desirable (younger or thinner), while someone who wanted to be older or fatter should seek psychotherapy? What about people who want to change to something that’s not generally considered better or worse, like a different gender? I’ve read that to qualify for sex reassignment surgery applicants had to undergo a lot of psychological evaluation in the past, but now it’s considerably easier. Is this because society is starting to see wanting to be another gender as more acceptable, and therefore wanting to have your penis cut off is more like wanting to get liposuction and less like wanting to have cosmetic surgery to look like a tiger or what-not? As people who consider themselves anthropomorphic animals become more mainstream (probably due to the rise of the internet and a greater capability of meeting more people like them), is that kind of surgical modification going to become easier to get?

Regarding hypothetical faux-elderly getting senior citizen discounts, my mother and father never had to show their ID, if someone looks old and wants the senior citizen prices, they can get them. I doubt that the guy working the door at a club on ladies night would ask to see the ID of someone who appeared to be a woman to verify they were in fact female…would you consider a man who was surgically modified to look like a woman immoral for getting into the bar free? Would it be acceptable for them to accept courtesies normally only extended to females from those who were unaware that they were male? I think this would be analogous to a 40 year old person made to look 70 accepting a seat on a train relinquished by a respectful young person.

Well I’m not sure if Dr_Paprika is a real MD (though think he has said so in other threads), but he did answer that in his reponse.

This is a big can o’ worms. Generally, I think the PC thing is to accept the tranny as the gender they prefer and let them use the other bathroom, etc…

Point being, I think the GQ part of your OP is about 5% of the total… and the rest should fall into IMHO or GD. Just MHO.

Yes, as an exhibit.

Dunno if it’s PC, but generally the polite thing is not to refer to a tansgendered person as a “tranny.”

Thanks, I wasn’t aware of that. All two I’ve met introduced themselves as such.

I’ve been an MD for seven years now.

I think I addressed all your concerns in my initial post. I think that someone who wants to be changed into something “socially desirable” will find doctors more willing to do the procedure and less likely to insist on psychological testing. I pointed out an element of hypocrisy with this view.

I still don’t see it as moral to lie about your age to get a discount.

I agree. My oldest daughter could easily have passed for 12 when she was 15, but I never would have lied about her age to get her in cheaper at the buffet, or whatever.