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Posted: Monday, 11 August 2014 6:16AM

Doctors say cosmetic surgery boom is fueled by selfies

Cosmetic surgeries are seeing their biggest gains since the Great Recession.

And, the face of plastic surgery is changing, skewing younger.

"Plastic surgery over the last ten years has really seen a boom," says Dr. Frank Lau, LSU Plastic Surgeon. "And, most of that growth comes from the younger and younger set."

Apparently, more and more people are getting work done to look better online.

"It's really more social media, and selfies being a very big part of it, because that's your public face as an individual now."

The social phenomenon appears to be having quite an impact on consumer behavior, and plastic surgeons see it as the driving force behind the uplift in facelifts.

Dr. Lau cites a study by the American Academy for Facial Plastic Surgeons. 

"Thirty-three percent of their members who they surveyed found that they had patients coming in, saying that...because they were taking selfies, or were active in social media...that they wanted to have a better appearance."

Between 2012 and 2013, doctors said they saw a 10 percent rise in nose jobs, a 7 percent rise in hair transplants, and a 6 percent rise in eyelid surgery.

But, not all the patients are going under the knife.

"The really biggest growth areas that we've seen are in what we call 'non-surgical esthetic procedures,' filler injections and Botox injections," Lau says.

"Nowadays, it's very common to have Botox or fillers at earlier and earlier ages. But, as the technology is proving safer and safer, we're also seeing more breast augmentations and buttocks augmentations, as well."

One specific group driving the plastic surgery business boom is engaged women whose left hands are sure to be plastered all over Facebook and Twitter. Everyone wants to see pictures of engagement rings.

Last year, the cosmetic surgery business was worth around $12.8 billion, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons,  and it's only expected to keep climbing...one selfie at a time.

"I think, until social media really got big, most of us didn't worry, necessarily, about the way we looked in our photos, because...who's really seeing them? But, nowadays, it's often your first point of contact with someone you may not even have met yet."

He says selfies have folks wanting to put their best face forward.

Dr. Lau is an Assistant Professor of Clinical Surgery in the Section of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at the LSUHSC School of Medicine.

Photo credit angelbb4 via flickr


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