Like clockwork – once, twice or several times a year – headlines, social media and television reports light up with news or speculation about the latest celebrity getting a nip here or a tuck there. When that does happen, is that enough to spark ‘regular folk’ to get something they’ve been wanting done?
Does She or Doesn’t She? Does it Matter to the General Population?
Years ago, it was common for patients to go into a plastic surgeon’s office with a photo of a celebrity asking to replicate a particular star’s nose, eyes, bust line, etc., but recent years have seen a decrease in this trend. In fact a recent study from the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (AAFPRS) found that a majority of patients (59 percent) ask for procedures by describing the area in question rather than referencing a celebrity. It is believed that an increased access to information through the internet is leading potential plastic surgery patients to do their research before coming in for surgery or even a consultation. Approximately 60% of patients get their information about plastic surgery online.
Those statistics, however, may be a little misleading, because many board certified plastic surgeons The Plastic Surgery Channel polled, shared one of their secrets with us: celebrity procedures DO have an impact on what their patients do.
It’s a Celebrity Culture… But Do We Follow Them all the Way to the Operating Table?
The answer is sometimes yes, sometimes no.
Dr. Dan Delveccio, a board certified plastic surgeon in Boston, says having a celebrity as a patient – or having them make headlines about a certain procedure – can be a double-edged scalpel.
“There’s no question that a happy celebrity will help you more than a happy nobody,” he shares. “But the thing we shouldn’t do as surgeons is to try and seek out celebrities for marketing. I see internet sites that advertise celebrity plastic surgeons, I don’t even know what the hell that means!”
Not All Plastic Surgeons Like Celebrity Plastic Surgery News
Dallas-based board certified plastic surgeon Dr. Mike Lee says he’d be happy if he never heard or saw news of a celebrity plastic surgery ever again.
“Celebrity face lifts of non-surgical face lifts give plastic surgery a bad name in my opinion,” Dr. Lee candidly told The Plastic Surgery Channel. “Many of the patient who have had good facelifts, no one knows they had a facelift. I think overall it’s bad for plastic surgery – in that it stands out and the media loves to put it on the cover of a magazine or on a show. They don’t talk about all the surgeries that have great results.”
Natural Looking Celebrities DO Get Our Attention
While celebrity influence may not be the driving force behind many patients’ decisions to get plastic surgery, it is certainly having an impact on the industry. The demand for natural looking results is strong both in minimally-invasive and surgical procedures. If you need a recent example, think back on the public backlash Renee Zellweger received when she made a red carpet appearance looking a bit different than her usual self. Plastic surgery is a tool to enhance YOUR natural beauty, not a way to become someone else.
When Celebrities Are Noticed, Does it Put Too Much Pressure on Young People?
A lot of headlines tossed around these days blame the so-called “Kardashian-effect” for an increase in young people choosing to have their taut teenage skin nipped and tucked into ‘perfection,’ but is there really any truth in the idea that celebrities encourage kids these days to go under the knife?
The fixation on wanting to be seen as beautiful seems to be hitting young people hard. As an example, a 2013 survey of Girl Guides suggested that a third of 11-21 year olds were unhappy with the way they looked, and some were so dissatisfied with their appearance that more than a quarter of them would seriously consider going under the knife to look ‘better.’
A lot of websites and magazines are quick to point the finger at celebrities and their glossy social media presence as a catalyst for this leap in younger women opting for cosmetic ‘enhancement.’ According to Edwin Williams III, president of the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, celebrities definitely play a huge part in young peoples’ decision to surgically alter their appearances, in part thanks to the photoshopped images that are sold as reality, he explained:
“The teen and young adult years are a highly impressionable time and the more consumers are inundated with celebrity images via social media, the more they want to replicate the enhanced, re-touched images that are passed off as reality,” Dr. Williams says. “We are seeing a younger demographic than ever before seeking consultations and treatments with facial plastic surgeons all over the country.”