A thorough research needs to be conducted to verify whether social media has helped drive up the plastic surgery numbers in the country.
Doctors in the UAE are concerned over the increasing demand for plastic surgeries in the UAE to attain 'perfect' images, an influential trend due to the use of social media, Khaleej Times has learned.
Dr Leon Alexandar, specialist plastic surgeon, Universal Hospitals Abu Dhabi, said young patients are wanting to reconstruct or 'photoshop' themselves to look more like the people they follow in the virtual world. "Social media does more harm than good because a lot of patients have false high expectations about plastic surgery and we are at the receiving end of that."
He said patients even believe plastic surgery will have no scarring because they see photos on social media of actresses and influencers without scars. "They say: I want my face to be perfect like hers. I tell the patients: No, I can't do that for you, these images are all photoshopped, retouched and makeup is used to hide the marks and scaring."
Dr Alexandar said patients also come to him requesting to look like certain Hollywood or Bollywood stars. "In the UAE, the number one plastic surgery requests are Hollywood celebrities, and the second are Bollywood celebrities, with many male patients wanting to look like Salman Khan and females wanting to look like Katrina Kaif."
He said doctors must, therefore, educate patients about the reality of the procedure, which is "no walk in the park".
"Patients must know these famous people might look perfect on screen, but we know that behind all that perfection, there is hard work, they have dedicated trainers, psychologists, dietitians, hairdressers and makeup artists.
"We have to be realistic to them, the surgeons and experts in the field must inform the patients to not expect the results they see online, the results depend on the body requirements, the healing and skin type."
He stressed that despite the doctor's efforts, patients continue to have false expectations. "This really puts us under a lot of pressure," he added.
Dr Alexandar added that social media has made such a significant influence on young women in today's society, that women as young as 20, are requesting the 'Brazilian Butt Lift,' which is often promoted online by celebrities and influencers. "They look at these bikini models and they say: I want this kind of body. These young girls have false and high expectations, and we must tell them we cannot recreate the same body parts they are imagining.
"I always underplay my results, because I don't want to give patients a false expectation or promise." But it is not just the celebrities and social media influencers negatively affecting young generations today, it is the "unethical" doctors themselves.
"Many surgeons are also guilty because they promote themselves and even reveal aggressive clips of their procedures on social media, which is not only something we are not supposed to do, as per the Emirates Plastic Surgery Society, but it is also unethical."
He said people should not fall for physicians and companies who promote themselves on social media, particularly those who use photos and clips of procedures. "This is their marketing strategy, they only do it to bring in more patients, but medical professionals should stick to medical ethics."
Dr Alexandar advises young people to simply not believe everything they see online, because if it looks too good to be true, then it probably is. "Do throughout research about the doctor and ensure he is a board-certified plastic surgeon and speak to patients he has operated on, rather than be influenced by clips online that give false impressions."
Social media information is very personal
Patients who rely on Google, instead of social media platforms are usually more educated.
"Those who rely on 'Dr Google' are usually more informed because Google research provides more solid information than social media, which is often based on rumours. Social media information about plastic surgery is very personal because it's individuals who are posting the information; it is second-hand information produced by so-called influencers," said Dr Nic Isse, American Board Certified Plastic Surgeon at The American Surgecenter.
He also said social media has had a significant influence on patients, as well as plastic surgeries. "Social media has influenced the way we do plastic surgery and the age of the patients that we are doing it on."
However, he said a thorough research needs to be conducted to verify whether social media has helped drive up the plastic surgery numbers in the country. "We are definitely seeing more young patients coming in, either by primary influence from social media, or they went on social media to find out more about certain procedures. Social media is playing a role, but how that role is played differs among age groups and procedures."
This article has been adapted from its original source.
Copyright © 2019 Khaleej Times. All Rights Reserved.