Are selfies behind the plastic surgery boom?

By Donna Duggan

Are selfies behind the plastic surgery boom?
Mobile phone ‘selfies’ distort facial features, an effect that may be driving an increase in requests for plastic surgery, UT Southwestern researchers show in a new study.

“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 Dr Bardia Amirlak, 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 photos are taken at close range, selfies may not reflect an individual’s true appearance.

Their research shows that on average, the nose appeared approximately 6.4% longer on selfies compared to the standard clinical photograph.

There was also a 12% decrease in the length of the chin on selfies, leading to a substantial 17% increase in the ratio of nose-to-chin length. Selfies also made the base of the nose appear wider relative to the width of the face.

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