Religion and the Plastic Surgeon: an Imam, a Minister, and a Rabbi Walk into a Surgical Centre

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Cultural competency has become a keystone in forming a successful doctor–patient relationship to provide culturally appropriate services that respect patients’ ethnocultural beliefs, values, attitudes, and conventions. In cosmetic surgery, an often-overlooked aspect of a patient’s cultural is his and her religious beliefs. In response to this paucity of resources for cosmetic surgeons to enable them to properly service their religious patients, this project was undertaken. This review article covers the three main Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam) and was written with the assistance of a prominent bioethicist from each religion (see Acknowledgements). In discussing each religion, the article has been divided into two sections. The first section is a general overview of the religion’s relationship with cosmetic surgery as summary provided by the consulting bioethicist. The second portion is an annotated review of additional resources providing the reader further details on that religion. For example, our bioethicists provide a general perspective on Christianity as a whole, and the annotated review focuses on differences between Catholics and Protestants. We recognize the heterogeneity that is inherent in religion and the cultural and geographic biases that affect it. However, we aim to provide the reader a broad and basic foundation of the relationship between Judaism, Christianity, and Islam with cosmetic surgery to begin to create common ground between the physician and the patient and improve the process of shared decision-making and thus our outcomes.

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