MILLENNIAL PLASTIC SURGERY-What? and Why? by Vincent Lepore MD

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Why would the youngest ‘labeled’ generation, the Millennials, embrace Plastic Surgery and cosmetic treatments?

To a lot of people it comes as a surprise. It may not seem logical. Or, maybe it’s just ironic. But, it is happening.

Millennials are generally defined as the 18 to 34-year olds. Except for a small percentage in the upper age limit in the group- people may wonder “Where are the wrinkles?” and “What’s sagging?”

CHOICE, CONTROL, and IMAGE

Younger patients are coming in for treatment- not so much to roll back the hands of time, but to accentuate the positive, revise what they see as the ‘negative,’ and make alterations based on what they see, and then what they’d like to see in themselves.  And what they see- is a lot.

THE SOCIAL MEDIA INFLUENCE      

Never before has a single generation been so photographed and documented on a daily basis. They show up in their own photos, and other people’s photos, and they’re displayed, literally, for the world to see.  How much of an audience do they have? Well, that varies. But the fact is- they’re out there, and they see.

On the positive side, the stigma has been removed. They don’t view Plastic Surgery, Cosmetic Treatments and choices so judgmentally. The tendency to hide physical improvements seems to be going away.

But some of that public sharing may come at a price. People may become overly self-aware, and may feel they need to mirror an impossible standard. As Plastic Surgeons, we listen, we evaluate, and we advise based on our knowledge and expertise. We outline realistic expectations and outcomes, so that patients will understand what’s in their best medical and aesthetic interest.

NON-INVASIVE TREATMENTS AND INJECTABLES  

For Millennials, the non-invasive treatments offer a chance to ‘sample’ rather than make a permanent commitment. They don’t involve surgery and anesthesia. Even though some are long-lasting, they’re considered temporary, and would need to be repeated to maintain the effect. Injections of many types of fillers, are reversible.

·         Botox (and other Botulinum toxin injections): Botox for 20-somethings? Yes, it’s an extremely popular treatment. Although it’s not presented as a way to prevent wrinkles, Botox is used in this age group to smooth out furrows and lines that some (even young people) may develop.

·         Fillers:  Fillers come in such a variety now, and have more uses than filling in wrinkles and creases. Although some younger patients may want that kind of treatment, many are exploring the use of fillers for purposes such as correcting a bump on the nose, or enhancing the cheek, jaw, or chin.

·         Lasers and Peels: These treatments are very popular, and often repeated. They mainly treat the upper layers of the skin, for marks left by acne, for skin discolorations, and generally for providing a refreshed ‘glow’ to the skin, with a bit of tightening as well.

MILLENNIALS’ TOP 5 COSMETIC SURGERIES

These figures come from the ASAPS (American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery), representing procedures performed in 2015:

1.     BREAST AUGMENTATION: (146,430) Millennial patients are looking for symmetry, as well as alterations in size of the breasts.

2.    LIPOSUCTION: (110,669)  Liposuction is a top surgical procedure in all age groups.Younger patients want definition and sculpting, as well as fat transfer; using their own harvested fat to enhance other areas (such as the buttocks).

3.    NOSE SURGERY:  (67,563) Rhinoplasty is #3 among millennials, for re-shaping the nose- either for a desired cosmetic result, or to correct a problem with impaired breathing.

4.    BREAST REDUCTION:  (28,281) Younger people are taking advantage of the education available, to research procedures at an earlier age. Earlier breast reductions are becoming more and more popular. In males, excessive breast tissue is called Gynecomastia. Sometimes liposuction alone may resolve the condition in males. If not, a reduction mammoplasty (surgical excision and resection of skin and tissue) would be done.

5.    EAR SURGERY: (Otoplasty) (13,882) These procedures are performed for various corrections, involving ear shape or size, as well as position.

*BODY ART- REMOVAL & CORRECTION:  This sub-category is a very popular and growing area of treatment. As younger people enter the workforce, they’re reconsidering some of the body ink and piercings they may have gotten earlier. Laser tattoo removal is a frequently-requested treatment. And, in our office, earlobe corrections are very popular procedures, after patients decide to remove larger earrings or gauges that have left large holes.

SHARING AND EXPRESSION

What is different among members of the Millennial generation, is not only the new normal of sharing personal information, but the ongoing documentation. In terms of plastic surgery procedures, young patients are often very comfortable sharing their cosmetic concerns, and their entire surgery journeys in pictures and video.

Maybe this aspect of the trend will change. Most trends do.

What doesn’t change, is our respect for your choices, and our protection of your privacy in all of your medical journeys. [Dr. Vincent Lepore is a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon, serving San Jose and all of Silicon Valley.] 

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San Jose Plastic Surgeon