According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, there’s been a 21.5 percent increase in cosmetic surgical procedures from 2014 to 2018. Social media is just one reason for this boost in the number of cosmetic procedures worldwide, but many of these patients don’t realize that they are looking at airbrushed selfies, which can cause them to be unhappy with the results of their own plastic surgery, and can also lead to body dysmorphic disorder (BDD). In an attempt to stop clients from developing unrealistic plastic surgery expectations, Instagram has tightened its rules on diet and cosmetic surgery posts, hiding them from users known to be under 18.
Also, many plastic surgery clinics are taking more steps to evaluate if patients are asking for a surgery for the wrong reasons. “Currently, we started rejecting triple the usual amount of patients due to unrealistic expectations,” says Justina Bartkute, director of Nordesthetics clinic located in Kaunas, Lithuania, which mostly works with medical tourism patients, comprising more than 90 percent of its total clients.
“Everyone who reaches out to us goes through our internal evaluation, which includes a questionnaire and consultations with our medical staff. We take patient expectations very seriously and agree that they can be fueled by social media—we think social media is among the main reasons for such a steep increase of patients that we have to reject, 200 percent more than last year. Instagram is taking a step in the right direction by restricting plastic surgery advertisements to young people. Getting plastic surgery is a serious step and this decision should not be taken lightly. We see it as a means for people to look and feel better, not as a tool to be used for those who suffer from various body image disorders. We hope that other plastic surgery clinics will follow the growing ethical plastic surgery trend.”