9th November 2015

Extreme aesthetic surgery

Extreme aesthetic surgery

How cosmetic surgery on TV impacts people

Nearly everyone knows human Barbie, human Ken and some other extreme looking persons. They all underwent a lot of cosmetic procedures to look like their idol. In recent years, popular television shows like Extreme Makeover or The Swan have shown people what is possible in aesthetic surgery (e.g. nose jobs). As a result, more and more people are coming to plastic surgeons with extreme expectations of what they wish to look like.

According to the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons, the number of cosmetic procedures increased by 41% from 2012 to 2013. (Source)

Studies have suggested that individuals who are consumers of “reality-based” aesthetic surgery shows and other mass media depictions of aesthetic surgery have more positive attitudes to cosmetic surgery and a greater likelihood to undergo such a procedure in the future.

Many of these patients have a poor understanding of the goals and objectives of a consultation. They might have unrealistic expectations on the impact of change in appearance on their social life. Or, they just want the procedure as seen on TV. Some also come to surgeons and just tell them “You are the expert, fix me.”

Aesthetic surgery television programs may be changing the attitude of people towards cosmetic surgery. In the first minutes of these cosmetic surgery shows, patients are mostly depicted as unhappy and unattractive. After the procedure they are shown in a transformative physical and emotional scene that implies that the transformation between before and after is solely the result of aesthetic surgery.

As one study reported, people who watch cosmetic surgery reality shows perceive greater benefits of cosmetic surgery in terms of competitiveness, confidence, appearance, happiness and attractiveness. They also perceived lower surgical risks and perceived good-looking persons have better relationships and job chances, and unattractive persons have disadvantages in social relationships. (1st source, 2nd source) These perceptions are unrealistic and may be wrong.

To maximise satisfaction and to prevent psychological problems of plastic surgery patients after an unsatisfactory result, the most important thing is to have a healthy, clear and honest relationship and good communication with your surgeon.