Selfies May Drive Plastic Surgery By Distorting Facial Features

Posted By American Med Spa Association, Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Cellphone "selfies" distort facial features, an effect that may be driving an uptick in requests for plastic surgery, UT Southwestern researchers show in a new study. The findings, reported in Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery, highlight an unexpected consequence of social media and the need for plastic surgeons to discuss this phenomenon with their patients.

"If young people are using selfies as their only guide, they may be coming to plastic surgeons to fix problems that don't exist except in the world of social media," said study leader Bardia Amirlak, M.D., Associate Professor of Plastic Surgery at UT Southwestern.

Dr. Amirlak explained that patients increasingly use photographs they've taken with a smartphone camera to discuss their goals with a plastic surgeon. There's a documented relationship, he added, between the increase in selfie photographs and an increase in requests for rhinoplasty -- or surgery to alter the appearance of the nose -- particularly among younger patients. However, because cameras can distort images, especially when photographs are taken at close range, selfies may not reflect an individual's true appearance.

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