With celebrity and social media culture embedded in our everyday lives we are constantly bombarded with images of people with the “perfect features, bodies, hair and lives”.
Access to infinite filters and body changing apps is common place and many of these “perfect” images that are assaulting our social media feeds are often very far from reality… Posting and boasting can be a rose-tinted moment in time of the individual, often a snapshot of the highlights of their lives. However, the impact these images can have on the self-confidence of others can be vast – causing feelings of insecurity and inadequacy. In extreme cases, it can prompt people to seek cosmetic and aesthetic surgery procedures, as they hope to reinvent themselves and solve their problems.
Often in these instances, where the individual may be afflicted by body dysmorphia or other mental health conditions, cosmetic surgery will not fix these problems or deliver the perfection they are seeking; thus driving the individual to seek more and more procedures and sometimes even becoming an addiction.
Consultant Plastic and Aesthetic Surgeon Mr Olivier Amar comments, ‘Plastic surgery is a very personal choice and the job of a surgeon is to ensure they fully understand whether the patient is genuinely concerned and affected by the areas they want treated or whether they are feeling pressure simply down the media or social and peer pressure. I consider myself a doctor first and a surgeon second and will always prioritise the needs and health of my patients above all else.’
The way in which cosmetic surgery procedures are promoted throughout social media is another cause for concern. Surgeons and clinics are increasingly using emoji’s to illustrate pre and post-surgery results, eluding to the claim that people look better after a procedure.
Promotion in this manner is preying on the confidence and emotions of individuals and is an irresponsible measure taken by the practice, an area that desperately needs industry regulation.
Mr Olivier Amar comments, ‘Posting images in this way is juvenile. Body image is a sensitive topic and this kind of narrative can be extremely damaging, often leading to bullying or self-criticism that could be avoided. Posting an image that may be relatable to a sensitive patient could lead to them taking extreme or dangerous measures. Doctors have a responsibility to the health of their patients and should do what is best for them; just because you can do it, doesn’t mean you should.’