Has Reality Television Changed Reality?

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With the abundance of plastic surgery reality shows and enhanced magazine covers, we ought to examine what reality really means. If reality is all that is in existence rather than as they may appear (as the dictionary defines), then the current zeitgeist of body enhancement has not changed reality but rather is a part of it. However, if we instead define reality as what we experience daily, based on our senses, then the media crush on cosmetic surgery certainly is changing our sense of what is real. So which is it? As a plastic surgeon, I face this every day.

To this point, I personally conducted a nationwide study examining what women (and men) want in breast augmentation. More than 500 women and men ranging in age from 21 to 65 were surveyed across the country about their thoughts on breast enhancement. When asked to describe the ideal augmentation, respondents overwhelmingly used the words natural and conservative; however, when these same respondents viewed simulated augmentations on models, they universally chose implants that were 33% larger then the average breast augmentation. In this instance, the perceived reality is that large implants are natural. Of interest, there is no difference in preference between men and women nor is there a difference based on age or ethnicity. My personal experience of performing hundreds of breast augmentations often concurs with this – real now means augmented.

In truth, normal and reality are personal ideals that are heavily influenced by society. However, just as you perceive a reality that is different than anyone else, your choice to undergo or not undergo plastic surgery is a personal decision. You are unique, and your plans should be personalized to you. My take: see your board-certified plastic surgeon because you want to, and not because a Hollywood star recently did!


** As an aside, the best answer we received to describe the ideal breast augmentation was, “Not my ex daughter-in-law’s!”

Article by
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon