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Matt Hlavacek, MD, DDS
Jason Baker, DDS



Are selfies prompting a surge in cosmetic surgery popularity?

April 3, 2014, 6:55 am

SelfieAre you on the selfies bandwagon? Do you spend time primping in the mirror then taking a photo of yourself and uploading it to Facebook or Instagram? Or perhaps you can’t help but take a picture of you and your best friend every time you get together. For many, the selfies trend has prompted an increasing awareness of their appearance on social media, and this in turn is prompting many to seek cosmetic surgery. Dr. Edward Farrior, president of the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (AAFPRS) has stated that Snapchat, Twitter, and similar apps “force patients to hold a microscope up to their own image and often look at it with a more self-critical eye than ever before.”

This increase in self-scrutiny has caused a rise in patients seeking cosmetic surgery due to intense self-inspection. A full third of facial surgeons report an increase in patients requesting procedures due to concerns over their appearance in social media. Of AAFPRS members surveyed regarding the impact of social media on patients seeking cosmetic surgery, thirteen percent cited patients’ dissatisfaction with their personal appearances as being related to an increase in photo sharing, much of which is in the form of self-portraits.

The AAFPRS survey for 2013 showed an increase in procedures such as blepharoplasty (eyelid surgery), rhinoplasty (nose surgery), hair transplants, and other facial and head procedures. For both men and women under the age of 35, nose jobs are the most popular cosmetic surgery procedures. Feeling the pressure to look better in photos that they post on social media, women are seeking more and more skin treatments to keep their appearance young and fresh, and men are more likely to seek acne scar treatment or chin implants. The survey also found that cosmetic surgery patients are getting younger. Currently, the average age for patients seeking their first facial procedure or injectable treatment is under 30.

A more disturbing trend is the number of patients seeking cosmetic surgery due to bullying (please see our previous post on cosmetic surgery and bullying). Although cosmetic surgery is not advisable for children or teens, 69% of young people who undergo surgery related to bullying do so as a result of already being bullied. The remaining 31% undergo cosmetic surgery in order to prevent bullying by attempting to fix perceived imperfections.

Before deciding to undergo cosmetic surgery, make sure you are doing it for the right reasons. Dr. Hlavacek and Kansas City Surgical Arts are here to help you in your journey, and we also want you to understand that the factors motivating you to seek cosmetic surgery will have an impact on your satisfaction with the final results. Cosmetic surgery, whether in the form of an eyebrow lift, breast augmentation or any other procedure, is a serious decision with permanent results. It is important that your motivation for seeking cosmetic surgery comes from a desire to satisfy yourself and not to look better or different because of how others might perceive you. Be sure to consider whether the surgery you are considering will correct a real or perceived problem and how much satisfaction will be gained when weighed against the investment of time, finances, and physical stress of undergoing surgery. Simply wanting to look better in your next selfie may not be the best reason to undergo a surgical procedure. However, patients who have a thorough understanding of why they are seeking cosmetic surgery, what a procedure can and can’t do, and who are already in good overall health and at a healthy weight typically have much greater satisfaction overall with the results of their procedure and with the experience overall from start to finish.

If you are considering cosmetic surgery of any kind, Dr. Hlavacek and his team at Kansas City Surgical Arts will be happy to meet with you for a consultation to discuss what type of procedure you are considering, whether your goals are realistic, and how best to approach those goals. We are here to provide you with guidance and support throughout your journey. Call us today at 816-286-4126 to schedule your consultation.