Is social media causing an increase in people seeking plastic surgery?

August 1, 2012

Is social media causing an increase in people seeking plastic surgery?
Is social media causing an increase in people seeking plastic surgery?

It's estimated that more than 1 billion people worldwide now use social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter, with as many as 600 million frequenting these and similar sites daily, according to And now experts say that the popularity of social media may be fueling an increase in the number of people seeking plastic surgery.

"People will come in and say, 'I saw myself in the mirror, but I didn't really notice it until I saw myself on Facebook or on my iPhone or iPad,'" a New York plastic surgeon recently told "When you look in the mirror you're seeing the mirror image of yourself. But when you see yourself on social media, you're seeing yourself the way the world sees you."

It's so common that some doctors have started calling procedures influenced by social media "Facebook facelifts," even if they don't include a traditional facelift procedure.

Experts say the recent increase in the number of chin augmentation surgeries may be due to social media, as it is a feature that many may not notice until they frequently view images of themselves online. According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), there was a nearly 10 percent increase in the number of chin augmentations performed by member surgeons between 2010 and 2011.

Triana Lavey, a 37-year-old news producer from Los Angeles, recently told ABC News that social media was behind her decision to get $15,000 worth of cosmetic procedures, including a chin augmentation, nose job and fat grafting on her face.

"I have been self-conscious about my chin, and it's all stemming from these Facebook photos," Lavey told the news provider. "I think that social media has really changed so much about how we look at ourselves and judge ourselves. Ten years ago, I don't think I even noticed that I had a weak chin."

Because social media is so ubiquitous, many are unable to simply avoid going on the websites to avoid seeing unflattering photos of themselves. Additionally, using these sites is required for many people's jobs.

"Where my career is headed and the industry is headed, I have to be on social media," Lavey told ABC News.

While plastic surgery is a good option for many people looking to enhance their appearance for social media, experts say it is important to choose a licensed, board-certified plastic surgeon in order to ensure safety. 

The mission of the Aesthetic Society includes medical education, public education and patient advocacy. Plastic Surgery News Briefs are summaries of current stories found through various news and magazine outlets that relate to or mention plastic surgery and cosmetic procedures. The views expressed in these news articles do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Aesthetic Society, but are merely published as an educational service to our members and the general public. For additional information on these subjects and other plastic surgery related topics, please go to

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