Social Media’s Influence on Plastic Surgery

Updated on April 3, 2024

The constant push of social media and 24/7 digital connections about people’s sentiment on topics, ranging from how to bake a cake to the latest conflicts on the other side of the planet, has long been known to influence how people behave. Now, Dr. Joel Aronowitz notes, social media is also being credited with driving a new demand for plastic surgery, particularly from the younger set who want to look like digital representations.

Life Imitates Art?

Digital representations of people started with video games and the interest to provide more realistic interaction in the gaming world. That eventually translated to avatars and PFP images that people associated with their identity online. Once artificial intelligence came into the picture last year with widespread access, there has been a strong increase in digital images representing people. That is now stoking a related interest in plastic surgery to look similar in real life.

Part of the issue comes from not understanding how much work goes into creating a media-ready image of a person. With a normal photograph, post-processing applies a multitude of changes, shading, lighting fixes, digital smoothing and more to create an improved final representation of a person or place. AI computers do the same with the images they create. That level of perfection is simply not possible in real life since people’s faces are constantly changing with health, what they ate the day before, stress, weight differences, water gain or loss and more. However, people are still asking plastic surgeons to produce changes closer to a digital image they like.

Isolation and a lack of in-person interaction has also been associated with a stronger interest in digital representation. As people were separated for so long during the pandemic, that too contributed to spending far more time online and raising interest in wanting to improve people’s digital “real estate.” 

Modern Plastic Surgery Can Provide Options

The range of choices and modifications possible with modern plastic surgery are broader than what was possible just a decade ago, including a number of procedures that can even be applied on an out-patient basis. Additionally, patients now have more options they can try as well that apply on a temporary basis, allowing a bit of a “trial run” with a different appearance. That said, patients should be well aware that many images online they may use as reference are entirely artificial and have no basis in natural development at all. In some cases, the features aren’t even healthy to have. 

Always Start with a Doctor’s Consultation First

The drive for image improvement based on media examples isn’t new; it’s been around since magazines started printing full-page photographs of models. However, Joel Aronowitz MD advises every patient considering an image change based on the media should always start with an in-depth consultation with a plastic surgeon first, who can go over what’s possible with an individual’s specific appearance, features and health. In some cases, changes can be a significant surgical impact, so it’s important to fully understand the health implications before starting. 

The Editorial Team at Healthcare Business Today is made up of skilled healthcare writers and experts, led by our managing editor, Daniel Casciato, who has over 25 years of experience in healthcare writing. Since 1998, we have produced compelling and informative content for numerous publications, establishing ourselves as a trusted resource for health and wellness information. We offer readers access to fresh health, medicine, science, and technology developments and the latest in patient news, emphasizing how these developments affect our lives.