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July 1975

Transformation and Identity: The Face and Plastic Surgery

Author Affiliations

Brookline, Mass


by Frances Cooke Macgregor, 230 pp, $8.95, New York Times Book Co, 1974.

Arch Surg. 1975;110(7):850. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1975.01360130082030

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For many years, Frances Macgregor has worked at the New York University Medical Center with patients undergoing reconstructive and plastic surgery. Her insight and sympathy for the facially disfigured are apparent in this useful book. As she notes, only recently has society dealt humanely and helpfully with the ugly. The crippled, the deaf, and the blind have been understood and aided much before those whom society views as repugnant.

Ms. Macgregor gives several poignant and instructive case reports, but in a perspective of cultural concepts of beauty and the significance of the face in personality formation, social interaction, and growth of identity. The person who in former times might have been condemned from birth to rejection and loneliness because of an aberrant face is fortunately now not beyond the pale. Surgery, however, is not always completely restorative, and, even in the rare instance when it is, psychologic rehabilitation must take

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