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The Link Between Selfies & Plastic Surgery

By: Robert Sigal, MD


I saw a statistic the other day that said by 2020 there would be 6.1 billion cell phones in the world. I didn't check it for accuracy, but it certainly seems like everyone has one. The technology is a game changer on many levels, but in this blog, I want to focus our attention on the camera in a phone. Specifically, how it relates to cosmetic surgery.

Think about a time before mirrors. How would you know what you looked like? You might catch a reflection of yourself in a still pool of water or polished metal, but your appearance would only be really reflected back to you based on others' reactions. The mirror changed all that.

Now it was possible to focus on your face making improvements and fixing flaws that weren't visible to you before. (Fast forward to today's magnifying mirrors and that focus sometimes gets taken to extremes.)

So now we know what we look like, but until the smartphone, our face was really only available to those in our immediate vicinity. Sure, there were newscasters who had their face broadcast to millions on the nightly news, and they were movie stars whose faces we all can remember. But to the rest of us, our face was for local consumption only. Not anymore.

Think about this: in 2015 a staggering 1 trillion photos were taken and billions were shared online. Nearly 80% were taken on our smart phones and a significant number of them were selfies.

If you think this has no implication for the value we place on our faces, you would be mistaken. It has profound implications.

We always cared about what we looked like. That was magnified by the mirror. And now with the smartphone and our ability to send our image to anyone and everyone, we've taken another quantum leap.  The implications for plastic surgery or equally profound.

Not only is demand up, but demand is also up for procedures with minimal downtime and quick recovery. Scars have to be minimized as our world looks critically at our posts. Here at Austin-Weston, The Center for Cosmetic Surgery, we are well aware of all of these forces and are bending our techniques to them (see the FaceTime Facelift videos on our site for example). While our focus will always be on excellent results, we continue to look for novel techniques that will optimize our patients' ability to quickly get there.

Robert K. Sigal, MD, Austin-Weston, The Center for Cosmetic Surgery


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