American Society of Plastic Surgeons
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A deep dive into the cat eye and fox eye aesthetic trend

cat eye and fox eye aesthetic trend

There's no doubt about it – social media is the true king of influence, especially within the world of plastic surgery. One area of this specialty that is being particularly influenced by the popularity of social media is that of facial aesthetics, especially the eyes.

In recent years, one procedure in particular has seen a substantial boom in popularity amongst women of all ages – the "cat eye" or "fox eye" lift, also known as a canthoplasty or canthopexy. While this procedure is not new in the world of facial aesthetics, it has quickly become one of the most current, in-demand procedures thanks to the influence of social media.

But what is a cat eye lift and what does it entail? How has social media contributed to its growing popularity? To learn more about the cat eye aesthetic trend and the forces driving its current popularity, we spoke with Jay Calvert, MD, and John Layke, DO, for their insights and advice for patients.

The boom of the cat eye procedure

Also sometimes known as the fox eye lift, the cat eye lift has quickly risen to fame in the plastic surgery world during the past several years. This unique family of procedures involves a variety of techniques to create a more "exotic," lifted shape within the eye area. It can involve elevating the lateral brow and cheek, decreasing the size of the lower eyelid and making the corner of the eye appear higher and tighter through surgical and nonsurgical methods.

In thinking about how to perform a cat eye procedure, there is no single best or most popular method. In fact, techniques tend to vary from surgeon to surgeon and patient to patient, depending on what is needed to achieve the desired results.

"The fox eye procedure is as varied as the surgeons performing it," said Dr. Calvert. "Some think the fox eye procedure is just Botox. Some think it is a brow lift with an operation at the corner of the eye. Some think it is a mid-facelift. In my world, the fox eye procedure that produces the celebrity look is a combination of a brow lift, mid-facelift and a canthopexy, which is a corner eye lift. I also add fat grafting and blepharoplasty (eye lift) commonly."

When looking at its recent boom in popularity, the evidence points towards one trend.

"I believe that social media is solely responsible for this trend, as filters often create a 'fox eye' appearance on influencers and celebrities," said Dr. Layke.

While social media has seen these procedures become trendy, it's important to know that they have been around for a while and provide dramatic results. The latest surge in popularity can arguably be traced to popular filters on social media.

"The operation has been in vogue with my patients for a long time," said Dr. Calvert. "The look patients like is akin to what many of the beauty filters do. In fact, many patients come in for their consultation with a screenshot of their filtered face. Their request is, 'I want to look like my filter.'"

While patients of all ages are interested in this type of procedure thanks to the influence of social media, there are particular groups who are more likely to approach a plastic surgeon.

"Most of these patients are younger females, some with genetically heavy brows and their goal is to create an almond-shaped eye with more of a canthal tilt, leading to an 'exotic' appearance," said Dr. Layke.

However, it's not just the younger patients seeking this out, as millennials and Gen X are also in the mix for cat eye procedures as they can address concerns with aging that come in their 30s and 40s.

"The most common patient seeking this procedure is a female in their mid-30s to late-40s," said Dr. Calvert. "They are noticing some hollowing of the cheek and lower lids. Their cheek may have dropped, and the area of the cheek and lateral brow has descended in an unfavorable manner."

The future of the cat eye procedure

Looking at the future of this type of procedure, there is plenty to look forward to, both in terms of surgical methods and of recovery.

"Plastic surgery techniques are forever evolving," said Dr. Calvert. "These operations have gotten better and better over time. The look is more predictable and natural with less and less downtime. Advances in perioperative care have also made these results more accessible to more patients. I believe the incisions will get smaller and the healing times will get shorter to get better results. This will come in the form of better visualization devices, more powerful fixation devices and more accurate placement of incisions for the maximum effect."

A specific procedure that looks to be promising is that of the "temporal lift," which offers the desired cat eye results with less intensive methods and recovery. This procedure only requires one or two small incisions hidden behind the hairline and lifts the outer portion of the brow, as opposed to a full brow lift, which uses a longer incision and lifts the entire brow.

Advice for patients interested in a cat eye procedure

As with any cosmetic procedure, there are key steps that you can take to set yourself up for success and to achieve the results that you've been dreaming of. Keep reading to learn what our experts would recommend when it comes to cat eye lifts.

Find the right board-certified plastic surgeon

First and foremost, always make sure that you check the qualifications of any plastic surgeon you are considering. When you opt for a board-certified plastic surgeon who is an ASPS member, you can rest assured that you will be in experienced hands that can help you achieve the results that you're after.

Go all-in on your research

Additionally, when seeking out the right surgeon to perform your procedure, don't be afraid to do some additional research before you make your final choice.

"Finding the right surgeon requires some investigation, as not many plastic surgeons are doing this operation," said Dr. Calvert. "Look at the before and after photos and make sure you like the look your surgeon produces."

Keep an eye on communication

When choosing your surgeon for any procedure, ensuring that you are comfortable with them and that communication between you is clear is key to success.

"Look at before and after results, meet and discuss your wishes with your surgeon and gauge a future patient-physician relationship and how easy it will be to converse in the event of a potential complication," said Dr. Layke. "If your surgeon doesn't require the bedside manner you require, move on."

Consider the cost of the procedure

While a fox eye or cat eye lift isn't often the most expensive aesthetic procedure you can choose, it can get pricey quickly, depending on what's needed to achieve your desired results. For example, a procedure that involves a mid-facelift, brow lift and canthopexy will cost more than a simple brow lift.

"The cost of the operations must also be considered as the price will vary along with the magnitude of the operations that need to be done," said Dr. Calvert.

Remember, this trend isn't for everyone

We all may be dreaming of that gorgeous celebrity cat eye look, but this trend might not be the best fit for everyone.

"I have been in practice for quite some time," said Dr. Calvert. "I have seen certain operations come and go in terms of media interest and public exposure. Just because some operation is getting huge media attention doesn't mean that operation is right for every patient. Plastic surgery is a very individual choice and needs to be carefully considered. Information is the key to making great choices and giving yourself the best shot at spectacular results!"

Getting the cat eye look you desire

When thinking about social media's influence on the field of plastic surgery, there is no denying its ability to drive the popularity of certain procedures, with the cat eye lift currently enjoying its time in the spotlight. Seemingly driven by an obsession with filtered appearances on social media, this procedure has quickly become one of the most requested among women of all ages.

However, before you jump into getting a cat eye lift, it's important to have an in-depth conversation with your plastic surgeon and consider the results that you can potentially achieve. Remember, with any trend there is the danger of it fading out of popularity as the next one takes its place. As Dr. Layke wisely stated, "Fashion and aesthetic trends will come and go, but a natural, youthful appearance should always be the goal of cosmetic surgery."

To find a qualified plastic surgeon for any cosmetic or reconstructive procedure, consult a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. All ASPS members are board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, have completed an accredited plastic surgery training program, practice in accredited facilities and follow strict standards of safety and ethics. Find an ASPS member in your area.


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