Trends in Aesthetic Plastic Surgery

Trends in Aesthetic Plastic Surgery

The Hollywood version of plastic surgery is pervasive in popular culture – the glitz and the glamor involving beautiful models, actresses and celebrities. Plastic surgeons (in the flesh or character form) have been popular on television in shows from Botched to Nip/Tuck and from The Real Housewives shows to Dr. 90210. Simultaneously, the rates of cosmetic plastic surgery being performed in the community have steadily increased, translating to a rise in the public-at-large undergoing these procedures, extending well beyond celebrities in the movie, music and fashion worlds. Although Hollywood celebrities have remained mainly mum on the topic, commonly touting drinking water as their beauty secret, mainstream America has become increasingly vocal about what work they have had done. Has cosmetic surgery become a luxury commodity?

The public fascination with cosmetic surgery is reflected in recent statistics from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), demonstrating a steady increase in cosmetic surgery overall – 1.8 million surgeries were performed in 2018 alone – and specifically breast augmentation and liposuction procedures compared to 2017. In the minimally invasive world of fillers, neurotoxins and lasers, almost 16 million procedures were performed, with an increase in Botox (and Botox-like) injections, filler administration and chemical peels.

The combination of this popular-culture presence combined with the rise of Instagram and the selfie has been credited with patients requesting a ‘filtered’ look – be it liposuction and “Brazilian Butt Lift” for a thinner waist and hourglass figure, rhinoplasty to slim a nose, or lip filler to capture the perfect pout in photos. The selfie distorts normal facial features because of the proximity of the lens; hence patients have been paying increasing attention to features that have not historically merited much attention – such as the basal (or ‘worm’s-eye’) view of the nose. One must be careful to avoid seeking the perfectly filtered look, which may not create an appropriate real-world aesthetic.

It is not just women who have been bit by the aesthetic surgery bug. Men compose one of the fastest growing segments in medical aesthetics, opting for botox injections, blepharoplasty (eyelift surgery) and body contouring, among the 1.3 million procedures performed on men in 2017. Men are reportedly seeking to look refreshed and vigorous at work to maintain a competitive, executive edge as well as to increase their success in the dating world. They are also less likely to share what procedures they have elected to have with their friends and colleagues.

Trends aside, it is important to remember that none of these procedures (even the non-surgical ones) are performed without risk. Not everyone is a surgical candidate or medically appropriate for fillers, lasers and other injections. Be sure to seek out a reputable, board-certified plastic surgeon or dermatologist to address your needs. What procedure or surgery would you be interested in?

Kristy L. Hamilton, M.D. is an American, Canadian and British citizen living in Houston, Texas who is currently at the end of her six year integrated residency program in plastic and reconstructive surgery.  She is passionate about aesthetic and reconstructive plastic surgery, and her goal is to empower her patients and help them achieve their aesthetic and reconstructive goals in the safest way possible.  In her spare time, she enjoys tennis, art, yoga and spending quality time with her friends and family. 

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