Are Selfie’s Influencing Plastic Surgery Trends?

It was the selfie seen around the world when Oscar host, Ellen Degeneres tweeted a picture of Hollywood A-listers gathered together and snapped by Academy Award nominated actor (and amateur photographer) – Bradley Cooper. The image went viral, with 1.3 million retweets in the first hour and became the most retweeted photo in Twitter history ever (over 3.3 million and counting).

With the convenience of modern technology and society’s insatiable need to stay instantly connected through social media, the popularity of the selfie is undeniable – even being named Oxford Dictionaries 2013 Word of the Year. Today, it seems everyone is participating in this self-image sharing phenomenon including celebrities, public figures and even The President of the United States. For everyday people seeking that perfect profile pic, there is a lot of pressure to look your best and often they turn to plastic surgeons to address their concerns. More often than not, this group of people will opt for less invasive and convenient in-office treatments to make minor improvements to their appearance. BOTOX® and injectable fillers are great for addressing wrinkles, filling fine lines and for adding volume to the cheeks and lips while laser resurfacing, chemical peels and microdermabrasion are ideal for improving skin’s texture and tone.

However, for a certain segment of the population, minimally invasive procedures may not provide the desired outcome so an increased number of patients are now seeking surgical intervention to improve their appearance. According to a recent study by the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (AAFPRS), in 2013, one in three surgeons experienced an increase in requests for facial procedures due to patient self-image awareness. The study purported that because of the increase of social media, men and women have become more image conscious and are taking steps to address their imperfections. The most notable increases in surgical procedures were rhinoplasty (nose reshaping), hair restoration and blepharoplasty (eye lid surgery).

The desire to improve ones appearance is not a new concept but it has changed significantly with the popularity of social media. While most plastic surgeons support reasonable requests for aesthetic enhancements, it’s important they determine the underlying factors of patients seeking cosmetic procedures and ensure the decision in not based solely on social influences. During the consultation, the plastic surgeon should understand the patient’s concerns and discuss their goals so together they can establish realistic expectations for their outcome. It is important for the surgeon to review all non-invasive and surgical options with each patient and discuss the risks associated with each procedure.

Dr. Joshua Greenwald is a board-certified plastic surgeon in New York City who studied and trained at prestigious educational institutions including Columbia University, Emory University, and New York University School of Medicine. His keen aesthetic eye and refined surgical techniques have led him to be a top choice for cosmetic face, breast, and body procedures in NYC. His exceptional patient care has earned him the distinction of “Top Doc” by both Westchester Magazine and Castle & Connolly for over 10 years running. Dr. Greenwald is an active member of the American Board of Plastic Surgery, the American Medical Association, and the Westchester County Medical Society.