The birth of the modern “selfie” may not have occurred until 2010 with the advent of the iPhone 4’s front-facing camera, but over the last 12 years, selfies have become an integral part of our daily lives. Even if you aren’t someone who chronicles your every move with the camera feature on your phone, we are inundated with photos and selfies of friends, family and celebrity influencers on social media. As a Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon, this proliferation of online photos is both a blessing and a curse. It gives my patients an instant catalog of features to use as reference points for what they want to achieve with their chosen aesthetic procedure. This can be a tremendous communication tool for ensuring that we are on the same page in terms of your goals. It also allows me to manage your expectations with an honest dialogue about what any given procedure can and cannot achieve with your unique anatomy. The latter is critical as the problem with selfies is that they can create unrealistic plastic surgery goals. Here’s why.
Selfies Distort Facial Features
Despite what you may think, the image you see in a photo is not real. Since almost no one uses an actual camera these days, “selfies” are nearly exclusive to mobile phones. The thing to keep in mind about the camera on your phone is that it has a very short lens. This literally distorts your features. Your nose, eyes and face may look up to 30% wider, longer and larger. No one is immune to this phenomenon. And though we may have read about this camera phone distortion, it can be hard to not fall down the rabbit hole of self-critique especially since body image and self-esteem are so strongly linked. This is bad enough on its own, but there’s also the issue of filters.
That celebrity whose jawline you love could very well have manipulated the photo to create that look. This is why I devote a great deal of time during your initial consultation listening to your desires and then having a frank discussion about what you can realistically expect in terms of your results. With younger patients, in particular, they sometimes want something that is simply not attainable. Let me be honest here. Not ALL younger patients have unrealistic expectations. Some older patients are guilty of this as well. In terms of the face, this is especially true with the:
Lips Are Ripe for Abuse
I don’t need to tell you how much influence Instagram and Tik Tok have on viewers. If you are younger, these two platforms are probably your primary source of information. There is also a proven link between the increase in social media use and plastic surgery. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The web can be an amazing educational tool. It can open up patients to possibilities that they had no way of knowing about before without actually visiting a plastic surgeon’s office. However, as discussed, these images can also be misleading, making someone want something that either isn’t attainable or isn’t going to look natural. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the lip augmentation with fillers procedure.
Plumping the lips with an appropriate amount of volume can instantly transform your face, restoring proper proportion in order to make you look more vital, energetic and happy. This is a lip rejuvenation procedure as opposed to a lip augmentation procedure. But we’ve all seen lips that go way too far. Personally, my aesthetic is a natural one. If someone comes to see me in one of my Boston area offices, my job is to deliver a result that isn’t obvious.
Do You Really Need a “Snatched” Jaw?
“Snatched jaw” is also a term that I hear a lot these days from patients, and it always sets off my warning bells. A clean, crisp delineation between the neck and the jaw is a look desired by many men and women. Women are more prone to be disturbed by “jowling” which are drapes of skin around the lower face. There are a number of procedures that can address these issues such as:
- Microneedling with Radio Frequency
- Thread Lift
- Neck Lift
Oftentimes, however, the issue is not one of anatomy, but perception due to selfie distortion. I often wind up explaining how the jawline is fine or maybe only needs a slight “tweak” with filler. Sometimes, I am able to point out a chin that could be augmented with filler with a subtle, but effective result in the jawline. My job is to make certain that the procedure you think you want is one that you actually need.
Realistic Expectations: Breast Augmentation & Tummy Tuck
As a body contouring expert, I have seen it all. And one of the conversations I find myself having, again and again, is that breast augmentation is a surgical procedure to improve the size and shape of your breasts. It is not a new pair of breasts. We must deal with the reality of your skin and tissues. The same is true with a tummy tuck or abdominoplasty. While I can lift and tighten the skin and muscle, if necessary, of your abdomen, I cannot make 50-year-old skin look 25 again. So, when you bend over in your bikini post-procedure, you are going to see some skin laxity because this is real life, and not a picture that has either been manipulated or is of a celebrity who is still in her early 30s. Patients who have lost a significant amount of weight also need to be aware of appropriate expectations.
To find out more about lip augmentation with fillers, neck lift, tummy tuck, or any surgical or non-surgical procedure with Dr. Sean Doherty at his Boston or Brookline office, contact us today or call (617) 450-0070 to schedule a consultation.