In a world where we’re constantly snapping photos and sharing them on social media, it’s nearly impossible to avoid a digital footprint. It’s especially difficult to escape scrutiny if you decide to change your appearance using plastic surgery. Board certified plastic surgeons weigh in on why privacy is challenging in our highly digital age, but also why the stigma surrounding plastic surgery seems to be melting away.
The selfie you post today on Instagram or Snapchat may still be around decades from now. Your digital footprint may follow you throughout life, for better or worse, and for almost everyone to see. “That’s the hard thing these days, nothing is private,” said Dr. Kristi Hustak, a board certified plastic surgeon in Houston, Texas. Hustak says social media has a huge influence on daily life, including how much of your private life is on display. “Our lives are out there in the world,” she says.
There’s no doubt that the open exchange of information creates a challenge, and even a dilemma, for those people who may want to keep a plastic surgery procedure private. For instance, keeping a breast augmentation a secret may not be possible after posting on social media for long periods of time. Depending on how drastic the change, it may very well be noticeable online. Also, Hustak points out that some people never imagined that those pictures from a long time ago would give away their plastic surgery, whether they are a very public personality or a private citizen.
“Some people are in the public world and they might be more open to pubic scrutiny because of their station in the public eye,” she explains. “Not everybody is like that. Not everyone banked on someone following their visual footprint from start to finish, so it can be surprising if you aren’t that public of person.”
Luxury Purchase – Plastic Surgery Stigma
If you bought a new sports car, how many people would you tell? If you have plastic surgery, how many people would you tell? Both decisions are considered luxury purchases, but some people are still reluctant to share their good news about having a plastic surgery procedure. Board certified plastic surgeon Dr. Brooke R. Seckel of Boston thinks he understand why. “If a person goes out and buys a Maserati, they are happy to go around and and show off how successful they are with their cool car,” he says. On the other hand, Seckel says it is very different when someone invests in plastic surgery. “If you have a beautiful face or nose or breast, you aren’t going to go around and say ‘look at how beautiful I am’ – I guess it’s because you are changing yourself.”
Even so, he thinks that stigma is on the decline. In the 40 years that he has been in practice, he’s seen a slow and steady willingness in society to embrace and admit plastic surgery. A lot of this is because of the attitudes of the younger generations, who are likely to share their experience on social media. “I have some patients who love to show off their results; Facebook and Twitter are full of post-op results from breast surgery,” he explains. “I think there is much less stigma today than there was 25 years ago.”