“Social Media Changed Our Specialty”
There’s no debating that plastic surgery consumers are more educated these days about what they want, in part because of social media platforms like Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat. Many people considering a procedure turn to social media for feedback or information about a particular procedure, even before consulting a plastic surgeon. “Patients are much more aware today of what is out there,” says Dr. Brooke R. Seckel, a board certified plastics surgeon in Boston.
Seckel has seen a lot of changes during his long career in medicine. He says the onset of social media has made a huge impact on the industry. Beyond the Facebooks and Instagrams, plastic surgery themed sites like RealSelf have dramatically heightened awareness and feedback regarding old and new procedures – a situation not unlike Amazon reviews.
Researching the latest procedures, reading patient outcomes and experiences, and witnessing transformative results have amassed to a new generation of plastic surgery patients armed with information. Sometimes this is very helpful to surgeons, and other times a bit of reeducation is necessary. Either way, the growth in interest alongside better techniques and new devices has led to a burgeoning new population of patients. But it’s not just a growth in patient numbers; these patients are the standard bearers for new trends.
Non-Surgical On the Upswing
“There’s a huge trend toward non surgical,” says Seckel. “At least probably 50-60% of patients who used to come in for surgical procedure are coming in for non-surgical procedures. I view the face as a whole. What’s surprising to me is patients today, they’re just happy with just better cheeks, they’re very happy with just their eyelids.”
For those patients interested in plastic surgery, the trend continues to be toward non-surgical, less invasive treatments like Botox and fillers. Botox remains as the top choice among all non-surgical treatments. Even though many non-surgical treatments do not show their results for a few months, patients are very willing to make this trade to avoid the OR and downtime.
Board certified plastic surgeon Dr. Ned Snyder of Austin agrees: minimal recovery is a top priority of patients. This inevitably shrinks the amount of potential procedure options, leading to patients having smaller, more targeted procedures, rather than global procedure that require significant recovery.
For many, the question of downtime and recovery can be the deciding factor. Dr. Snyder shares his observation of an increase in neck lift procedures over facelift. While options to treat the neck have certainly grown in recent years, much of it may have to do with the fact that the procedure is smaller, and thus the recovery faster and easier. While perhaps a facelift may be the optimal solution, a neck lift just may fit into their lifestyle better.
“The lesser downtime and quicker surgery helps answer some of those questions for patients who are leaning towards a neck lift over a facelift,” shares Snyder.
Beyond a Faster Recovery – Natural Results
The trend of natural results isn’t terribly new, but has certainly picked up significant steam. From lip injections to breast augmentation, patients want to look natural. The days of overly large breast implants, in particular, are behind us. “Currently, women are really looking for a natural breast silhouette,” shares board certified plastic surgeon Dr. Sean Doherty. “They’re not looking for extremely large implants, but really want a subtle, soft improvement of their chest.”
These trends have grown organically and fit in with trends beyond plastic surgery – a desire to be natural and healthy while staying active and looking the best that you can in each decade. With more and more non-surgical devices proving their efficacy, and the perpetual march of honed surgical technique for classic procedures, these trends appear to be here to stay for the near future.