American Society of Plastic Surgeons
For Medical Professionals

What's new in plastic surgery? A move toward individuality, not celebrity

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While the COVID-19 pandemic temporarily reduced the amount of plastic surgery procedures performed in 2020 and early 2021, the pandemic and the extensive use of Zoom meetings also sparked a renewal in plastic surgery trends focused more on facial features, such as facelifts, eye lifts and rhinoplasties.

Not only are various facial procedures trending, the trends in plastic surgery are also staking a more natural looking turn, at least in some respects. On the flip side, newer plastic surgery trends are taking ethnicity into consideration while also blending certain ethnic features across cultures.

From celebrities to a more natural and individual appearance

In past years, it was not uncommon for people to see the changes in their favorite celebrities after a plastic surgery and think about how they would look with the same changes and procedures. Surgeons often received pictures of celebrities from their patients to show what they wanted with their surgery.

While celebrities are still sparking some plastic surgery trends – think Kim Kardashian and the Brazilian butt lift – people are now more focused on surgical procedures that will enhance their individual, natural beauty.

Instead of looking more like their favorite celebrity, the trend is to now look like themselves, but with some natural enhancements. Instead of celebrity photos, many surgeons are now receiving images that their patients have photoshopped or photos of friends or family with desirable traits.

A focus on ethnicity is becoming a major trend

When it comes to the nose, the beauty and fashion industries have long been obsessed with the small, cute, turned-up nose. This ideal caused many women to choose rhinoplasty to adjust a larger-than-desired nose.

However, 2021 saw the rise of a new trend on TikTok that celebrated noses from a wide range of ethnicities. As new trends rear their head, many individuals are taking pride in their ethnic facial features. So, what does this mean for rhinoplasty? Rhinoplasty is still occurring, but the focus is moving toward things like fixing a crooked nose, removing humps and fixing asymmetry while still maintaining a person's ethnic identity.

While some cultures are keeping their features as is, there is the continued popularity of double eyelid blepharoplasty for people of Asian descent in order to create a crease in the upper monolid of the eye. The goal is to make their eyes appear larger and deliver a more Western appearance.

This is one of the most common facial plastic surgery procedures in Asia and is now the third most common procedure requested by Asian Americans. Among Asian American women, there is also an increase in requests for a smaller button nose, high nose bridges and fuller foreheads in order to create a more Western appearance.

Unreasonable expectationsd due to photo apps

Unfortunately, the increased use of photo filters and beauty apps have created numerous unattainable and, in some cases odd, beauty ideals. For example, the "anime" appearance has recently started sparking a lot of surgical requests. The look of oversized eyes, translucent skin or heart-shaped faces has become a newfound obsession for some devoted fans.

Unfortunately, many of these aesthetic goals are not physically possible. This leaves plastic surgeons with the challenging task of resetting expectations and helping patients understand what is achievable.

New trends focus on the individual

While many plastic surgery trends are focusing on a natural appearance and embracing individual beauty, there are still larger beauty trends and ideals that influence what people want when they consider a plastic surgery procedure. Before having surgery, it's extremely important for a person to take a step back and understand the various motivations and influences that have led them to consider plastic surgery.

By doing a bit of "soul searching," patients are more likely to choose procedures that they will be happy with, both in the short term and for years to come. It is an exciting time to be a plastic surgeon when beauty ideals are becoming more diverse and individuals have more information and choices than ever before about how they want to express their physical appearance to the world.

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.


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