Selfies and Rhinoplasty

woman with sleek smooth hair looking at camera

Actual patient quote: “Dr. Athre can you see on this selfie that my right side of my nose looks bigger than my left. But it does not look that way in the mirror.”

Did you know that a poll conducted by the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery showed that the selfie craze has increased the demand for facial plastic surgery? The study showed that 58% of polled facial plastic surgeons saw an increased demand for facial plastic procedures with patients citing their motivation was to improve their selfie. In their 2020 polling research, the AAFPRS found that facial plastic surgery accounted for 75% of the work done that year, the result of the “ZOOM effect.”

The selfie has become a staple of our technology diet in the 21st century. What originally started as a simple way to capture a candid moment has become so mainstream that the average millennial is expected to take 25,700 selfies in their lifetime! To put this in perspective, the average lifespan is 27375 days; that is more than one selfie a day through one’s adult life.

Though all this technology is amazing, it has some downsides. First of all, a recent study out of Rutgers University showed that selfies normally overestimate the size of one’s nose prompting patients to seek a rhinoplasty where their nose may actually be quite proportional to their face. Therefore, it has become more important than ever that the truly qualified physicians separate themselves from the rest of the pack. Many times, I have noticed that patients bring in selfies and selfie-modified images to their consultation. The concept of expectation management at this point is crucial to success in the case. The technology to modify selfies also is a great tool to visualize what potential results may be; but may also place unrealistic expectations on the surgeon and in the patient’s mind.

So what is the final end all?

  1. Selfies are on the rise
  2. Patients request and utilize more technology to image themselves and assess themselves
  3. There is a potential at this point to inappropriately judge’s one’s features if we go only by selfies
  4. Selfies may create unrealistic expectations for surgeons and patients
  5. It is more important than ever for surgeons to:
    • Evaluate the patient
    • Explain expectations to the patient
    • Tell the patient that anatomy, etc. all affect outcome, and we operate based on physical findings not on the selfie
    • Dr. Athre’s motto: “Cosmetic surgery is performed to enhance the patient’s image and their self esteem. The results should be natural, and aesthetically proportioned.”

Dr. Athre is a double board-certified surgeon specializing in Rhinoplasty and Facial Plastic surgery. He loves Rhinoplasty. He really does not do SELFIES !