Question Box: Plastic Surgery

Q: How do Mormons feel about plastic surgery?

I am unaware of any church statement on using cosmetic plastic surgery simply to “improve” one’s appearance.  I am certain, that there are a multitude of opinions from Mormons for and against cosmetic plastic surgery, but let it be understood that these are simply their own opinions.  However, I don’t know if undergoing a breast enlargement, or having a face lift simply to attract more people’s attention is the most appropriate thing to do.

We do not shun the use of modern medical technologies, including plastic surgery.  There are definitely circumstance where plastic surgery is appropriate.  Elder Neal A. Maxwell, a now deceased leader of our church, used the example of a young man undergoing nine plastic surgeries on his disfigured lips “so that others can hear the gospel from his lips, undistracted.”  Obviously, Elder Maxwell,  thought this was an appropriate use of plastic surgery.

In addition, there are  plastic surgeons who are Mormon.  At one time in medical school, I was contemplating a career in plastic surgery myself, but for whatever reason, I didn’t feel it was the right thing for me.  Plastic surgery is a enormous blessing for some people–those that have been disfigured due to disease, cancer, and all form of accidents.  It can restore their confidence in themselves and reduces the “stare” that they often receive while in public.   I know that I would definitely want to be making a visit to a plastic surgeon if I found myself in such a situation.

Thanks for your question!