Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Body art and medical need
  1. I Brassington
  1. Correspondence to:
 Iain Brassington
 Centre for Professional Ethics, Keele Hall, University of Keele, Keele, Staffs, ST5 5BG, UK; i.m.brassington{at}


A company called Biojewellery has proposed to take a sample of bone tissue from a couple and to grow this sample into wedding rings. One of the ethical problems that such a proposal faces is that it implies surgery without medical need. To this end, only couples with a prior need for surgery are being considered. This paper examines the question of whether such a stipulation is necessary. It is suggested that, though medical need and the provision of health and wellbeing is overwhelmingly the warrant for surgical intervention, there is no reason in principle why other, non-medical, projects such as jewellery creation might not also warrant surgical intervention. Implicitly, this line of thought forces us to consider the proper place of surgical intervention—that is, to ask what surgeons are for.

  • surgery
  • jewellery
  • harm
  • warrant
  • project

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.