Navigating the New Trends in Plastic Surgery

June 3, 2014
Robert T. Grant, MD, MSc, FACS

Do you know why patients seek out cosmetic surgery these days? Healthcare professionals might need to rethink their responses, because the answers are surprising.

Do you know why patients seek out cosmetic surgery these days? We all might need to rethink our responses, because the answers are surprising.

The latest cosmetic surgery trends in both the US and abroad show a dramatic spike in people seeking procedures to obtain a well-known celebrity’s body feature, like Michelle Obama’s arms or Beyoncé’s backside. Given all of the advancements in photo retouching, the pressure is on for both men and women to look their best now more than ever before.

I regularly see patients who bring a celebrity photo to their initial consultation appointment to point out the body part or feature they would like to obtain or mimic. However, I feel the real question at hand is: what is our role as healthcare professionals in advising these patients on the most appropriate cosmetic procedures for them?

Below, I have provided my professional opinion on how we can help patients make responsible and safe decisions when it comes to the top 3 US cosmetic surgery trends.

Getaways

Many Americans used to travel overseas for their plastic surgery procedures for a variety of reasons, including lower fees and more privacy during recovery. However, this trend appears to be on the decline, which I suspect is greatly due to the widely publicized horror stories on cosmetic procedures gone wrong abroad.

As a result, Americans are now looking for domestic retreats where they can recover from their procedure in a private, peaceful, and safe environment. I tell my patients that having their cosmetic procedure performed in the US will not only help guarantee their safety, but also optimize their surgical results.

Divorcees

Newly single men and women are often told to “do something for themselves,” which could simply involve taking a vacation, getting a haircut, or joining a book club. However, the new trend among recent divorcees is to seek out facelifts, tummy tucks, and breast lifts.

As healthcare professionals, it is our job to ensure patients are seeking out plastic surgery for appropriate reasons. Since the results of these procedures are not reversible, it is important to determine whether patients are in the right state of mind to make such a significant decision.

Celebrities

As Jennifer Aniston, Michelle Obama, and Kelly Ripa are all known for their chiseled arms, these celebrities are thought to be catalysts for the recent spike in brachioplasty, an arm lift surgery that reshapes the area from the top of the underarm down to the elbow. However, I advise my patients that brachioplasty is a last resort, because the journey toward achieving more chiseled arms should always begin with diet and exercise.

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Although we are in the business of helping people look and feel their best regardless of their age, it is our responsibility as healthcare professionals to make sure they are doing so for the right reasons as we guide them through every step of the process.

Robert T. Grant, MD, MSc, FACS, is Chief of the combined Divisions of Plastic Surgery at New York-Presbyterian Hospital-Columbia University Medical Center and New York-Presbyterian Hospital-Weill Cornell Medical Center. He is also Associate Clinical Professor of Surgery in the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University and Adjunct Associate Professor of Clinical Surgery at Weill Cornell Medical College. For more information about Dr. Grant or to contact him, visit his website at www.robertgrantmd.com.

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