A recent poll by the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery found that one in three surgeons have seen a rise in requests for procedures as a result of patients being more aware of their image on social media such as Facebook and other photo-sharing social media such as Instagram. The same poll also noted a 10% rise in nose jobs from 2012 to 2013 and a 7% and 6% jump in hair transplants and eyelid surgery respectively. These figures are likely to be similar in the UK.
Over the last few years the popularity of the “selfie” - as well as tagging non-flattering photographs of friends online - has grown rapidly. There appears to be a correlation between the rise in the number of cosmetic procedures and the increasing use of social media. The driving force seems to be the pressure that people now feel to improve their profile and to look their best online.
Dr Sam Rizk, a facial plastic surgeon in New York, said: “There has been a 25% increase over the past year and a half to two years. That is very significant…I refuse a significant proportion of patients with selfies because I believe it is not a real image of what they actually look like in person…”
Amy Milner, an associate in the clinical negligence team at Penningtons Manches who specialises in cosmetic surgery cases, said: “With the increasing popularity of both social media and cosmetic surgery, it is worrying that there continues to be an increase in the number of people opting for cosmetic surgery in order to look better online. We are all too familiar with the lack of regulation and safeguards within this industry in the UK and the failure by the Government to put proper safeguards in place to protect those wanting surgery. With this strengthening correlation between surgery and social media, prospective patients must make the appropriate checks when choosing a surgeon or a clinic. They must also have the appropriate consultations to explore their reasons for wanting surgery and to ensure that they are aware of the risks and implications”.