It is fair to say that for many of us, social media has changed the way we communicate and we now do many things differently. Gone are the days when we relied on communicating in person, or using cameras and having to wait for them to be developed before seeing the results. Photos are now instant, and many people believe that this process of sharing photos online and receiving comments and likes has led many more people down the surgical route.
We are living in a more visual world which is inevitable, with pressure to look good everywhere around us, making it far too easy to compare ourselves to others and often put ourselves down. Many people are now heading to the surgeon because they are unhappy with their online appearance, wanting to create versions of themselves for the purpose of social media.
What many people don’t realise is that social media offers a very distorted version of people, never showing them at their worst. We are all guilty of wanting to look our best online, but the main issue seems to be that it is seriously harming people’s confidence and self-image, which needs to be changed. It is important to remind people of their self worth, and we need to make sure traits such as humour, intelligence or kindness are prioritised over dress size.
What Should Surgeons Do?
Surgeons need to understand the extremely important role they play in this issue. One vital step is to make sure that there is a sufficient amount of time between the consultation and the surgery so they understand what they are doing and are sure it is what they want to please themselves, rather than to please others. It is down to the surgeon to ensure that the patient is having the surgery for all the right reasons. Something that is being introduced is the use of virtual reality to show patients what the change might do for them. Gary Ross, a leading surgeon in cosmetic surgery Manchester, is a supporter of virtual reality in consultations, as it can bring expectations of surgeries in line with reality so they gain the full picture.
How to Prepare Patients
Patients need to truly understand that once they have had surgery, there is no going back. Many people fail to understand how serious it is, and so it is vital that they feel happy and are fully aware of what is involved. Encourage them to ask questions, and make sure you are the right surgeon for them. Many people choose to go abroad for surgery for cheaper options, but often this results in a much lower level of attention to detail, as well as a less intense aftercare system.
Can We Blame Social Media?
It is fair to say that social media is one part of this puzzle, as it puts pressure on us to conform. However, it is perhaps unfair to say it is fully responsible. Friends and family who have had surgery have been known to encourage others down that route, as well as celebrities in the media. It is also becoming more accessible and affordable, with a lot of non-surgical options on the market.
The barriers to surgery are consistently being lowered, leaving many people vulnerable. So, if you are considering surgery, do plenty of research and make sure you are doing it for the right reasons. As a surgeon, be sure to do your job and make sure that the patient is comfortable and completely in the know. Surgery is a big commitment, so be prepared!