Edited ‘selfies’ linked to plastic surgery acceptance

A US study has found “increased acceptance of cosmetic facial surgery is associated with the use of certain social media and photo-editing applications”. 

In the study published in JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery, participants reported “using photo-editing applications to make changes in photo lighting” and “using these applications to make changes in body or face shape” noted yahoo.com.

The overall results found “participants who reported using specific applications, such as YouTube, Tinder and Snapchat photograph filters, had an increased acceptance of cosmetic surgery; use of other applications, including WhatsApp and Photoshop, was associated with significantly lower self-esteem scores”—something the researchers say “may help guide future patient-physician discussions regarding cosmetic surgery perceptions”.

California facial plastic surgeon Dr Jill Hessler said she’s recently seen “an uptick in patients coming in using filters or adjusting their photos so she can see exactly what they want” — and she’s a fan. “In most instances, I actually find it helpful so we can have a realistic discussion of what is possible and what is not possible with surgical or minimally invasive treatments. It can be used as a version of the morphing software that is often used by facial plastic surgeons and plastic surgeons to give patients an idea of what surgical changes can provide.

“I find it helpful to look at these photos patients bring to the office because it gives me a greater understanding of their concerns and their goals. Sometimes, patients can’t articulate their concerns, but a photo can really help illustrate this to doctors.”

Fellow California plastic surgeon Dr Robert Singer agreed a picture really is “worth a thousand words” when it comes to cosmetic surgery, but he looks at the patient-selfie connection as more suited for communication — not a concrete indicator of results — and emphasised: “There are certainly great advantages to technology, but it’s not a secret there is a growing demographic that has become addicted to selfies to the point of obsession.”

He warns selfies can produce distorted views, something most selfie-centric users fail to realise. “Because of the angles they are taken at, the closeness of the subject and the lighting, they can actually create asymmetries and distortion.”

Sources:  JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery, Yahoo.com and Medscape.com