It’s sad to say, but 2016 will probably be remembered as the year of the selfie. For the young people growing up in the age of social media, this will be a particularly poignant observation. While older generations might find it easier to opt out, young people today are feeling the pressure to snap, filter and share every aspect of their lives. A recent article in the New York Post revealed the scores of teens who have no qualms about sharing their cosmetic surgery experiences with the world. Gone are the days when cosmetic surgery was limited to the rich and famous, carried out in secret and brushed off as simply being the result of a good night’s sleep, a new cream, or a rigorous workout routine. The stigma attached to cosmetic surgery has been buried and we have the likes of Kylie Jenner to thank for this.
While a rise in cosmetic surgery isn’t necessarily a bad thing, the companies rushing in to make a quick buck off the back of a lack of regulation is certainly a worrying trend. Just last month, an MP in England addressed parliament about the need for further regulation around the cosmetic surgery industry, saying that their advertising techniques would be more suited to double glazing sales. So what is to blame for this increase in demand that would cause companies to flood in to meet demand?
Picture Perfect Demands
Some surgeons have reported that patients come to them asking to look a certain way on their social media posts. Taking endless selfies and comparing yourself to others will inevitably lead most people to wonder if their appearance could be augmented or improved. While going under the knife isn’t necessarily a bad thing, what is worrying is that many people fail to understand the severity of their surgical choices.
Evidence shows that medical negligence claims are on the rise, and with some clinics hiring foreign doctors who don’t have an adequate level of indemnity insurance, claims can become increasingly difficult. Breast surgery claims can ruin a young person’s life at a time when they should have their whole lives ahead of them. Medical negligence isn’t always to blame, and surgeons failing to manage expectations can also be the cause of some claims. Yet we have to ask, how can a surgeon be expected to produce results on par with a filtered or edited image their patient has found on social media?
The Facetime Facelift
These problems aren’t limited to younger people, and surgeons have reported that older people have also been going under the knife as a result of social media pressure. In 2012, when video calling started to take off, surgeons reported an increase in requests for facelifts. One surgeon took this even further by creating the Facetime Facelift, which was developed to help minimise the visible scars from a traditional facelift.
While social media might not be the primary reason that patients cite for going under the knife, many of the reasons can certainly be traced back to an increase in self-awareness and vanity that has been brought about as a result of exposure to social media.