Since the rise of social media, plastic surgeons have seen a significant increase in patients requesting face and body procedures.
Today, images of perfection bombard us every day through our phones, tablets and computers.
We Care How We Compare
With over half of Americans now getting their news on social media, studies have suggested that the constant scanning of images of both friends and celebrities alike can lead to an increase in loneliness and feelings of inadequacy in comparison.
Use of social media in America has increased tenfold in the past decade, with increasing use of free and low-cost image-editing software perpetuating unrealistic ideals and contributing to our general body dissatisfaction.
Platforms such as Tumblr, Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat remind us daily how far we are from that “perfect” image, and many of us are opting to undergo the knife primarily to look better on social media.
This past year, over 700 surgeons polled by The American Academy of Facial and Reconstructive Surgery (AAFPRS) reported a 31% increase in cosmetic plastic surgery requests from patients wanting to look better on social media outlets, with as many as 49% of patients requesting cosmetic surgery last year solely to look better online.
Both Genders Affected
Although research suggests women are more often dissatisfied with their body image after using social media than men, both genders are affected. A recent study on social media and body image by leading fitness website magazine Shape.com reported that 42% of female participants stated that they felt less confident in how they looked as a result of using social media. Another study found that 95% of its college-aged male participants were unhappy with their body image.
Increase in Younger Patients
Plastic surgeons are also reporting an increase in younger patients, both male and female, with as many as 56% reporting increases in patients between 20-30 years old. A foundation of nearly 8 hours, on average, of exposure to some form of media among children aged 8 to 18 has likely contributed to the increase in younger patients seeking cosmetic enhancement.
Rhinoplasty, BOTOX®, facelift, and breast augmentation remain the most popular cosmetic procedures, with plastic surgeons reporting an 11% rise in these types of procedures between 2011 and 2012 alone. Requests for buttock augmentation, known as the “Brazilian Butt Lift”, also continue to gain momentum, thanks to curvaceous stars like Jennifer Lopez and Kim Kardashian. The American Academy of Plastic Surgeons recently reported that requests for buttock enhancement grew by 252% from 2000-2015.