Millennials—women and men in their 20s and early 30s—represent a significant proportion of plastic surgery patients, a fact that has gained much attention over the last year or so as stories of “selfie surgeries” make their way into news headlines. Stereotypes often portray these younger patients as undergoing surgery out of vanity or pressure to fit into a social media-driven mold. But, like much that is said about millennials, this seems to be more hype than truth.
Millennials have plastic surgery for the same reasons as any patients at any age: to feel more confident in their appearance, restore more natural contours, and literally live more comfortably in their own skin.
As a plastic surgeon who has helped many younger patients improve their comfort, self-confidence, and appearance through cosmetic surgery, I have found such assumptions to be misguided. Thus, I was encouraged to come across this article recently published on StyleCaster, which shares the plastic surgery stories of five Millennial women. While each woman chose to undergo cosmetic surgery for personal reasons, their individual stories share some common threads:
- These women had cosmetic surgery for themselves, not to please anyone else
- They all appear to have had a healthy body image prior to surgery, yet had specific things they wished to improve upon
- They had realistic expectations for what plastic surgery could achieve
The real reasons that Millennial plastic surgery may be on the rise
Based on my professional experience, as well as that of my colleagues in the plastic surgery field, I can say that these stories represent the norm, not the exception. By and large, Millennials have plastic surgery for similar reasons to any other subset of patients: to feel more confident in their appearance, correct the effects of injury, pregnancy or weight loss, and (quite literally) live more comfortably in their own skin.
A likely reason that Millennials who want to have cosmetic surgery tend to do it now, rather than postpone a procedure until they are older, is that cosmetic surgery is more accessible, affordable, and socially acceptable today than it was just 10 or 15 years ago. Advancements in surgical technology translate to shorter recovery periods, allowing patients to undergo a procedure with less disruption to their lives. Expanded financing options make cosmetic surgery easier to fit into one’s budget at a younger age as well.
A healthy approach to cosmetic surgery is vital at any age
Regardless of a patient’s age, it is always important that a patient have healthy reasons for pursuing cosmetic surgery. Realistic expectations for what plastic surgery can achieve in terms of aesthetic improvements and enhancement in quality of life are key. The best way to determine whether a procedure is appropriate for you is to meet with an experienced, board certified plastic surgeon, who will listen to your goals, explain what you can expect with a procedure, and assess whether or not plastic surgery is a good option for you.
Note that one patient in the article described going out of the country for surgery; this is generally a far more risky choice. To ensure you have a safe, successful procedure, stick with a board certified plastic surgeon that works with board certified anesthesiologists and operates in a fully accredited facility in the U.S.
If you are looking for a plastic surgeon in the Eugene area, I invite you to come in for a personal consultation to discuss your goals and learn more about the procedure options that interest you. I will be happy to listen and offer helpful feedback, so you can make an informed, confident decision. Please contact my office to schedule an appointment.
To read the full article exploring why Millennial women have surgery, click here.