How Reality TV is Shaping Our Thoughts on Plastic Surgery
A recent study found that four out of five people seeking plastic surgery said they’d been “directly influenced” by shows including “Extreme Makeover,” E!’s “Dr. 90210,” MTV’s “I Want a Famous Face” and Bravo’s “Miami Slice.”
The academic journal, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, reported the first known data on how reality television affects plastic surgery patients. More than half of the patients said they watched at least one such program regularly, and most admitted that the shows had played a significant role in their decision to get treatment.
However, before anyone gets too alarmed, if these makeover shows are pushing people into the operating room, it’s not in huge numbers. Doctors performed an estimated 1.8 million cosmetic surgical procedures the year of the study, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, and that’s up only about two percent from three years earlier. Furthermore, statistics from trade groups like the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (ASAPS) even show a decrease in surgical procedures.
While this kind of programming may not be increasing the number of cosmetic surgeries overall, it does seem to be a factor among those who are opting for body contouring procedures like liposuction, breast enhancement procedures like breast augmentation, and facial surgery such as rhinoplasty—which are among the most popular surgeries. According to the study, 79 percent of the 42 patients examined said: “television/media influenced their decision to pursue a cosmetic surgery procedure.” Only 12 percent of patients seeking plastic surgery said they’d never seen a reality show about it.