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Are Selfies Motivating More of Us to have Plastic Surgery?

By HERWriter
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are selfies a reason more people are having plastic surgery? Monkey Business Images/PhotoSpin

We all want to look our best in photos, especially if those photos are posted on the internet for everyone to see. Selfies have become a popular form of expression in social media. So much so, that it may not be a surprise that plastic surgeons are reporting an increase in the requests for procedures to improve our looks.

According to a poll of 2,700 members of the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (AAFPRS), one in three facial plastic surgeons saw an increase in plastic surgery requests due to patients being more aware of their image in social media.

Aafprs.org reported that between 2012 and 2013 they saw a 10 percent rise in nose jobs, a 7 percent rise in hair transplants, and a 6 percent rise in eyelid surgery.

"Social platforms like Instagram, Snapchat and the iPhone app Selfie.im, which are solely image based, force patients to hold a microscope up to their own image and often look at it with more self-critical eye than ever before," said Dr. Edward Farrior, president of the academy, in a news release.

Desiring a more positive image is not just influenced by still photos of ourselves. People may keep noticing their own image moving in the lower box when they skype or use facetime. The position of the camera in their laptop or phone often causes chins to look less flattering if the person is looking down.

“Internet dating and Facebook dating has really changed how people approach what they want to look like,” said Dr. Richard Ellenbogen, a high-end plastic surgeon in Los Angeles, as reported on Digitaltrends.com.

He discussed how people come in with their Facebook photo and want to know what he can do to improve their appearance. Dr. Ellenbogen said that he uses computer software to show them what changes he can make.

Dr. Robert K. Sigal, a Virginia-based plastic surgeon, has even gone one step farther and coined the term “FaceTime Facelift”. He described to Digitaltrends.com how he developed a special technique to hide the crease line under the chin that comes from the procedure so isn’t seen when using a phone’s camera.

Dr. Malcolm Z. Roth, former president of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), has also witnessed this increase in plastic surgery use. He pointed out that people using social media are seeing themselves differently than how they see themselves in the mirror.

In the mirror, we often tilt our heads to minimize signs of aging and our mouths are not moving. When we talk to others, any imperfections we are not happy with come alive.

He has found that “social” individuals are requesting more neurotoxins, fillers and laser procedures, as well as neck and face lifts and eyelid tucks.

Another consideration of our images on social media has to do with how our photo is seen by others when we attempt to get employment.

Today, Facebook and LinkedIn images are viewed by potential employers making it the place where first impressions are made. Previously in a bad economy, people would not flock to have plastic surgery performed since it is not reimbursed by insurance. Now, aging workers may feel they need extra help to capture that job.

If you decide to seek plastic surgery to improve your image for whatever reason, it is wise to use precautions in selecting a plastic surgeon.

“To ensure the best results, you should have a consultation with your prospective physician to assess your candidacy and clearly discuss your goals. Always make sure to select a board-certified surgeon who specializes in plastic surgery of the face, head and neck,” warned Dr. Farrior.


Selfie Trend Increases Demand for Facial Plastic Surgery. Annual AAFPRS Survey Finds ‘Selfie’ Trend Increases Demand for Facial Plastic Surgery Influence on Elective Surgery. AMERICAN ACADEMY OF FACIAL PLASTIC AND RECONSTRUCTIVE SURGERY (AAFPRS). Retrieved Apr. 20, 2014.

Could selfies be pushing more Americans to plastic surgery? CBSnews.com. Retrieved Apr. 20, 2014.

The Facebook Facelift is only the beginning of social media-motivated plastic surgery. Retrieved Apr. 20, 2014.

Michele is an R.N. freelance writer with a special interest in woman’s healthcare and quality of care issues. Other articles by Michele are at www.helium.com/users/487540/show_articles

Edited by Jody Smith

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.