Chade Nix, 27, clicked on various websites surveying the different options of plastic surgeons near her Marietta, Georgia home. As she studies the ‘before and after’ photos from different surgical procedures, she glances at the reflection of her almond shaped eyes, high cheek bones and protruding lips. Nix expresses her excitement at the idea of a possible consultation regarding which of her own physical features could possibly be altered or enhanced to achieve her idea of perfection.
“Women want to be pretty, and whatever that look is, that’s what they want to be,” said Nix. “If this means being an over-processed blonde, or a long wavy brunette, a refined nose or ears pinned back. Whatever will make you reach that pillar of success or at least look the part.”
RISE IN NUMBERS
The American Society of Plastic Surgeons 2013 statistics indicate a rise since 2012 in the most common procedures of breast augmentations, eyelid surgeries, facelifts, Botox injections, chemical peels and soft tissue fillers.
“Cosmetic surgery has evolved,” said Nix, who feels surgery is no longer as controversial as it was 10 years ago. “Cosmetic surgery now is like scheduling a routine Pap smear. Being ‘au naturel’ is overrated”.
“The rise in numbers is primarily due to the new innovative, minimally-invasive procedures,” said Adeena Badditt, ASPS director of public relations. “Botox became the number one non-surgical procedure and led to fillers, lasers procedures, and all types of new treatments. New technology means new less invasive procedures that people feel more comfortable with.”
“There are two populations of consumers,” said Dr. Edward Farrior, Tampa Florida plastic surgeon. “Younger people are usually coming in to address an unattractive feature. Typically, the older people are perfectly well adjusted with the skeletal characteristic of their face; they just don’t want to look older. There’s always been that dichotomy in the two populations of consumers.”
The conceived benefits of these surgeries include improved self-esteem, enhancing social lives, and even heightening careers. “Self-esteem certainly impacts someone’s ability to perform at work. Cosmetic surgery is known to enhance that,” said Farrior. “So if someone has a distracting feature – a weak chin, a prominent nose – and they address that distraction, when they’re having meetings with people, they’re not concerned with how they look because they know they look good.”
The Facial Plastic Surgery & Reconstructive Surgery Academy has indicated that two-thirds of men and women requested cosmetic surgery because of competition in the workforce where emotional confidence was directly related to better performance, often amplifying success.
Nix considers plastic surgery an investment in personal success and happiness. “Enhancement of one’s career, social status, or love life is kinda the point of well, life”.
PATIENTS GETTING YOUNGER
Advancements in technology also have influenced a rise among teens who seek to go under the knife. In 2011, plastic surgery in teens accounted for over 131,000 procedures. Recent ASPS statistics reveal that over 160,000 patients between the ages of 13-19 opting for minimally invasive cosmetic surgery throughout 2012.
“I don’t like my boobs. They make me look like I’m 12,” said Long Island high school student, Kira Palmer, 16. Palmer is one of many young girls who feels that enhancement of her cup size would make her more content with her appearance. “I’m still an A [cup], it’s bad”. While Palmer has no immediate intention to alter her looks, she understands the allure. “Plastic surgery is a personal preference. I don’t really see a problem with it”.
“Kids, kids meaning people under 18, are beginning to feel surgery is an option for them whereas, ten years ago, very few teens considered it,” said psychologist Vivian Diller Ph.D. “Now we’re seeing an increase in request for many other surgical procedures including breast reduction and breast enhancement.”
IMPACTS OF SOCIAL MEDIA
A recent 2014 AAFPRS study indicated that one in three facial plastic surgeons saw an increase in requests for procedures due to social media, attributing increased photo sharing to the dissatisfaction patients have with their own image.
Reports revealed in 2013, more than half of surveyed facial plastic surgeons saw an increase in cosmetic surgery or injectable in those under age 30.
“If you look at what social media has done with both the way we present ourselves, and with the success of younger people, the perception is in order to remain competitive you have to look young and engaged in more timely appearance,” said Farrior.
PROCEDURES MORE AFFORDABLE
Plastic surgery isn’t exclusively for celebs anymore. The recent change in affordability and availability of financing allows those of limited income to afford this luxury.
“Cosmetic surgery is very sensitive to the state of the economy and so when the economy took a downturn, the prices came down. It’s very market sensitive,” said Farrior.
Health insurance may cover some of the cost depending on the procedure. Under the law, breast reconstruction after a mastectomy is covered by health insurance. A deviated septum can, at times be a justifiable reason for rhinoplasty coverage. However, if the purpose of the surgery is intended only to improve physical appearance, no coverage is offered.
Surgical procedures and pricing are discussed during consultations, with all fees reviewed. During this time, financing options are also discussed. These options enable those with average or limited incomes to pay for surgical procedures over a period of time. Popular financing companies include American Benefit Credit, Chase Health Advance, Cosmetic Surgery Financing, and Health One Financial, each offering different revolving lines of credit and interest rates based on individual credit scores.
“Financing makes it better,” said Astoria, Queens resident Elizabeth Garcia, 24. “It’s more affordable. I wouldn’t think twice now about wanting to get something done. If I wanted [a procedure], I would just put it on a credit card.”
Less recovery time has also led many to think more favorably towards plastic surgery. Non – invasive procedures are also more isolated allowing surgeons to perform major operations without large incisions. The use of new technology such as lasers, results in less pain, minimal scarring, and a speedy recovery allowing the patient to return work sooner.
“Having any downtime can cost you your job these days”, said Garcia who considers the quick recovery a significant perk of the new advanced procedures. “Now you can get a little nip/tuck on Friday and be back to work by Monday. Talk about convenient.”
Written By Janurie Ulett: Hailing from quaint suburbia, Long Island meets the fabulousness of NYC. With a Bachelors degree in journalism from Brooklyn College, Janurie’s passion for writing comes naturally, fueling her career as a health and fitness freelance journalist. Her signature flair can be described as 19th-century English meets modern day Dear Abby as she faithfully satisfies her readers’ appetites, one word at a time.