Plastic surgery has continued to grow in popularity in the 21st Century. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the number of plastic surgeries performed in the United States has grown by 115% since the year 2000. While many people make changes to their appearance through plastic surgery without sharing that news with anyone, there are other patients that make sure to post any and all information about their new appearance on social media. What part do social media platforms play in convincing the public to have plastic surgery? Do they normalize the decision to undergo a procedure? Let’s take a look at the connection between plastic surgery and social media in order to determine the answer.
When it comes to making the decision to have plastic surgery, there are multiple reasons that influence the final choice when it comes to a cosmetic surgery procedure.
Some patients have been unhappy with certain aspects or parts of their body for many years and want to enhance or improve that area of the body. Examples including changing the shape of the nose through rhinoplasty so it is smaller or having breast reduction surgery to alter the size of overly large breasts that cause pain in the neck or the back of the patient.
There are other patients that want to feel a sense of empowerment from increasing the size of the buttocks with a Brazilian butt lift (BBL) or take “ownership of the body” by eliminating stubborn fat through liposuction. They want to gain a better self-image and increased self-confidence by making long desired changes to the body.
Besides wanting to make changes they have long desired, they might also be influenced by photos they view online of celebrities or surgical videos from doctors that are readily available on social media platforms such as Instagram and TikTok.
Since the rise in popularity of social media, doctors all across the United States are sharing behind the scenes photos and videos as well as “before and after” photos of actual patients. It is not out of the ordinary to go the Instagram page or TikTok account of a doctor and watch a video of a tummy tuck or breast augmentation or some other plastic surgery procedure.
There are potential patients that see these videos and find them to be too “up close and personal” as plastic surgery is a private matter to them. Others welcome the videos as a chance to view what they might be undergoing in the future which means they see the videos as an educational opportunity.
The question was asked earlier…Is social media normalizing plastic surgery in the eyes of the public?
The answer is likely…”Yes”. The chance to watch a video that shows the step-by-step instructions of a particular cosmetic procedure of interest certainly makes it seem easier and more accessible to patients. The steady stream of “before and after’ photos on social media can make it “feel normal” for people that look at a “before” photo to then want a cosmetic treatment in order to look like the ‘after” photo as well.
Social media celebrities with a large amount of followers will often receive free or paid procedures as part of sponsored posts that are designed to promote the medical offices and services of specific doctors. These sponsored posts can also greatly influence the desire of patients to have plastic surgery.
It is interesting to see how the attitude towards plastic surgery has evolved during the coronavirus pandemic. When lockdowns first started to lessen and more businesses reopened across the country, there seemed to be a rush of patients looking to have plastic surgery. They had been looking at their appearance on video calls for work and wanted to make changes in the fine lines, wrinkles and sagging skin they viewed on a daily basis.
It should be noted there were others who took the opposite approach when given the opportunity once again to have a cosmetic procedure. Even when they continued to view the appearance of others on social media, this group of people decided they liked their more natural look and did not let the procedures and treatments they viewed daily on social media influence how they look each day.
It is certainly true that anyone who wants a cosmetic procedure should have the opportunity to discuss the desired changes in their appearance with a doctor. It is also important to note that some plastic surgery procedures might not provide realistic looking results for some patients. For example, the desire to have overly large breasts might not be the best fit for the body type or body frame of the person that wants to have the procedure.
It is important to remember that plastic surgery can give a person a greater body image and also fulfill a desire to have a certain look to their body. It is also important to remember that it is not always an option to have cosmetic surgery because of the overall health of the patient or the fact that the person might not be an ideal candidate (such as a patient that does not have enough donor hair for a hair transplant). In cases such as these, having a “regular body” is sometimes the best option for a person.