Academic English

"Cosmetic Surgery - Script"

Listening Exercise

Listen to the recording on cosmetic surgery and read along with the conversation. Review the key vocabulary and the sample sentences.

Cosmetic or plastic surgery often evokes images of famous personalities wanting to alter their appearances through elective surgical procedures. However, reconstructive surgery is a procedure that makes a similar, but different impact on the lives of many around the world, and many of these patients suffer from either congenitaldefects like a cleft palate or from injuries sustained in accidents or as a result of animal bites. Some disfigurements can also be due to the effects of disease or infection. Yet, the individual with such defects often bares more than just outward physical marks: loss of hope and self-worth as well as acceptance are commonplace.

In the past, such procedures were only available in developed countries where the medical expertise and financial resources were available to affordsuch operations. However, a number of worldwide organizations made up of volunteers make regular visits to developing countries to provide reconstructive surgery to those who could not otherwise receive such care. In addition to the care they provide, these volunteer specialists also provide training to health care workers in these procedures so that local hospitals, nurses, and doctors can become self-sufficient.

The end results of such efforts have transformed lives: the patient now can live with some normalcy and hope for the future with less fear of being ostracized by neighbors and family, and the health care worker who performs the procedure perhaps feels a greater understanding and compassion for those who suffer from such defects.

There are many ways for people to assist in supporting these volunteer efforts. Although most people do not have the medical expertise to perform reconstructive surgery, they can still donate time, money, and supplies to such organizations. A quick search on the Internet can get you started.

Vocabulary and Sample Sentences

  • evoke (verb): bring up, call to mind 
    - Seeing children in need of reconstructive surgery often evokes feelings of sympathy and concern.
  • alter (verb): change 
    - The woman thought she could alter her looks and personality by undergoing plastic surgery.
  • congenital (adjective): present at birth 
    - Some congenital defects can be corrected with reconstructive surgery.
  • disfigurements (noun, also a verb, "disfigure"): a part of the body that has been damaged
    - The fire in the crash left her face and hands disfigured, and now she is seeking cosmetic surgery to repair the damage and give her more mobility to her fingers.
  • afford (verb): have the financial means to do something
    - A great number of people around the world are in need of reconstructive surgery to improve their lives, but they can't afford the expense of such procedures.
  • self-sufficient (adjective): able to provide for your own needs
    - Many health care workers in developing countries are still learning to become self-sufficient in terms of handling the medial needs of their people.
  • ostracize (verb): expel or cast out from a group
    - The local community ostracized the young boy and his family because of his medical condition.