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Exploring The Relationship Between The Selfie And Changing Plastic Surgery Trends

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In 2013, the Oxford Dictionary added a new word to its pages: "selfie." With the increase in selfie snapping, posting, and sharing, however; people are more self-aware and body-conscious than ever before. As a result, more and more people--especially those under 30--are turning to plastic surgery in an effort to snap the perfect selfie.

Changing Motivations for Plastic Surgery

In March of 2014, the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, or AARPRS, announced the results of its annual survey geared toward examining trends within the industry. A third of the survey respondents--all facial plastic surgeons--reported that social media and photo sharing websites served as the primary motivation behind many patients' decisions to undergo plastic surgery. The survey results also revealed marked increases of certain selfie-centric plastic surgeries, such as rhinoplasties, hair transplants, and eyelid surgeries.

Plastic surgeons are also reporting that their patients are growing increasingly younger. In 2005, over half of plastic surgery patients were over the age of 51; today, the majority of patients are under 30.

Why Has Photography Only Recently Impacted Plastic Surgery Rates?

Photography has been around since 1839, but painful self-consciousness associated with a simple photograph of a person's face has only recently skyrocketed to extreme levels. The phenomenon is an interesting one. The selfie has turned regular people into celebrities, if only within their own online social circles. Social media gives average people the unique ability to become celebrities, and the psychological side effects that once belonged exclusively to true celebrities. 

For example, researchers have found that people who are constantly in the limelight, like actors and actresses or pop stars, unconsciously develop two "selves": an authentic self and a celebrity self. Over time, these two senses of the self can make the celebrity feel isolated, puppet-ed, and unable or unwilling to reveal the authentic self. This self-consciousness has frequently resulted in self-destructive behaviors, like alcohol abuse, drug addiction, and suicide.

This burden, which once only plagued celebrities, is now shared by everyday people who indulge a judgmental online audience. Even if the person does not have many online "friends," observing selfies posted by real-world friends can influence that person's self-image, which in turn can cause feelings of inadequacy and body imperfection.

Is The Selfie Fad Really That Bad?

Patients decide to undergo plastic surgery for a variety of very personal reasons. The motivation behind the decision to undergo facial plastic surgery differs from person to person; in this internet age, it seems unlikely that the importance of a great online presence will diminish. Thus, it is more than reasonable to expect that the selfie would result in an increase in plastic surgery rates. 

Before a doctor performs plastic surgery on a patient, that doctor schedules a consultation. During this consultation, the doctor evaluates the patient's desires, reasons behind the decision to pursue plastic surgery, and the likelihood that the patient will be satisfied with the outcome.

If the doctor determines that the patient wants the plastic surgery for the wrong reasons, then that doctor has the right to deny the patient. Thus, even if the pursuit of the perfect selfie is the motivation behind the plastic surgery, the doctor can still agree to perform the surgery if the evaluation does not expose any overarching psychological issues that would remain long after the procedure.

To learn more, contact a company like Hecht Aesthetic Center with any questions you have.