We are probably all aware of the impact that social media has on our world, but are we as insightful on the subtle ways it can impact us as individuals? While social media can be a great thing, allowing us to stay in touch with friends, find exciting travel destinations and share great recipes, it can also, unfortunately, bring about feelings of alienation and loss of self-esteem.
According to a recent article, social media can have the unfortunate effect of creating a negative body image in some cases. Many plastic surgeons have shared that patients are beginning to approach them with requests to make them “look like” a social media influencer or celebrity, never realizing that those photos are often filtered or edited to give an unnatural appearance. This can cause the patient to have unrealistic goals and expectations for various plastic surgery procedures and lead to dissatisfaction with outcomes.
Even more frightening is the trend in worsening self-perception and self-image associated with social media. Researchers are now seeing trends in which both men and women are becoming increasingly dissatisfied with their own looks and are seeking out solutions, including plastic surgery, to chase an improbable dream of how they think they should look.
The dark side of social media is that it can create a toxic culture in which a person compares himself or herself to others and strives to look like “that person,” even if that standard is ridiculous or unobtainable. This can eventually lead to mental health issues, including depression and anxiety.
Social media has also been linked with worsening of body-image disorders, particularly body dysmorphic disorder or BDD. This condition affects about one in every 50 people in the United States, and features preoccupation with slight defects of appearance that lead to negative and compulsive behaviors. Eating disorders are also closely linked with body dysmorphic disorder and with social media in general, particularly for teens and young adults.
However, the news is not all bad when it comes to social media and body images. When used in a healthy way to promote positive body image, social media can be a great support for those who struggle with their appearance. Promoting healthy habits and showing a variety of body shapes and types has helped many people accept who they are and have realistic expectations of the outcomes of plastic surgery if they choose to have it.
The Tummy Tuck Revolution
Perhaps nowhere has social media had such a large impact on plastic surgery as on the procedure known as the “tummy tuck.” In one study, fully half of all patients requesting a tummy tuck were actively following an account on social media to learn more about the procedure, or following someone who had the procedure and documented the experience. In 1997, the year social media was “born,” the number of tummy tucks done was about 34,000. Last year, that number rose to 207,000. Clearly, social media has had an impact on the interest in tummy tucks, which have increased in number by nearly 500 percent over the past 25 years.
While it is clear that tummy tuck demand is on the rise, what are the benefits of getting a tummy tuck beyond the dreams of social media? Are there valid reasons to have a tummy tuck besides simply wanting to keep up with the Instagram crowd? It turns out that tummy tucks can have very beneficial effects on not only the self-esteem and self-image of a patient but can boost other health markers as well, making it a great choice for many as long as expectations are realistic and well-managed.
Benefits of Tummy Tucks for Patients
An abdominoplasty, otherwise known as a “tummy tuck,” is a type of surgery that tightens loose muscles and removes excess skin and fat from the abdomen. This procedure is often recommended in conjunction with a healthy diet and exercise program to reduce overall body weight but can be performed even on people of normal weight who have poor muscle tone or too much abdominal skin or fat despite good habits.
While tummy tucks are primarily considered cosmetic procedures, they can have many positive health effects on patients, including:
- Restoring weakened or separated muscles
- Improving bladder function
- Alleviation of back pain
- Reduction of skin infections and discomfort from loose, excess skin folds
- Creation of a smoother stomach with stronger muscle structure
While not a substitute for diet or exercise, abdominoplasty can often help in cases in which diet and exercise alone are not enough to eliminate problems.
What Will A Tummy Tuck Do?
Before deciding to have a tummy tuck, it is important to understand the probable outcome of such a surgery. It may be helpful to understand what a tummy tuck does NOT do, including:
- Completely remove all stretch marks. While some stretch marks may be in the areas affected by the surgery, some may still be visible.
- Prevent weight gain. Without proper weight maintenance, you can easily gain back your excess weight, including more fat and loose skin.
- Be immune to the effects of future pregnancies. If you become pregnant again after having a tummy tuck, your results may alter substantially, depending on the nature of your pregnancy and its outcome. For example, some women must have an emergency Cesarean section after a tummy tuck, and this can lead to permanent scarring that will not go away. Future stretch marks will also be permanent.
However, tummy tucks can give you a firm, healthy looking abdomen and make you feel more self-confident. These are often good reasons to consider the procedure.
At The Aesthetic Center, we believe in the dignity and beauty of every patient. Call us today to schedule a consultation about your tummy tuck or other cosmetic procedures. Our doctors can explain your options and help you choose the right procedure to make you look and feel great!