We all know the power that social media influencers have over their followers on popular platforms like Instagram and Snapchat, but now social media itself is having lasting repercussions on how the younger generations are viewing cosmetic surgery. Many people may be familiar with body dysmorphia, but not everyone has heard of a new complication that has developed, being dubbed Snapchat Dysmorphia. Dr. Gabriel Chiu with Beverly Hills Plastic Surgery gave a very telling interview with CNBC on what Snapchat Dysmorphia is and how plastic surgeons have to deal with patient’s outrageous requests.
What Is Snapchat Dysmorphia?
Dr. Chiu recounted how he had a patient come into his office and ask for “anime looking eyes”, and when he conveyed that it was an impossible request, the patient was shocked that it could not be done. Social media plays a significant role in people’s lives today because of the convenience of connecting with others, as well as the ability to make ourselves look more appealing and attractive with the swipe of the screen.
Snapchat is a popular app that allows you to take videos or photos of yourself to post privately or publicly.. One of the innovations that Snapchat has pioneered is the camera filter that can highlight users’ flaws, and consequently changing their opinion of how they look. As users become more conditioned to how they look with filters, real life becomes hard to compare.
How Did We Get Here?
Cosmetic surgery has always been about improving one’s appearance, but some patients are looking to make a complete change, quickly, without downtime, and without room for error. This is not the first time that self-reflection has created a desire to change our look. It all began with looking at photographs, and seeing ourselves from an almost out of body experience or comparing ourselves to celebrities, then it moved into digital photography and digital manipulation like Photoshop. It only makes sense that we have continued down that path into social media apps. The difference is now the digital manipulation is at our fingertips and takes no real skills to yield it. As it becomes easier to manipulate how we look, it becomes easier to find flaws in ourselves.
What Is the Moral Implication For Plastic Surgeons?
Social media may be having a negative impact on how many people view themselves, but this isn’t the first time that plastic surgeons are expected to play psychologist. Plastic surgeons have always had their patient’s best interest in mind, and their goal is to educate each patient. During a consultation, plastic surgeons will guide potential patients to a procedure that is best for them and will not just say “yes” to every request. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons suggests that plastic surgeons should be saying no to at least one third of requests made to them. At the end of the day, plastic surgeons are just like every other doctor: they have their patient’s best interest at heart.
Although not everyone can be lumped into this category, social media has created a large contingency of users that are self-absorbed and can no longer accept what they look like in real life.