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Social Media Is Fueling Increase in Plastic Surgeries, Surgeons Say

Update Date: May 16, 2013 02:50 PM EDT

This poll will really put the "face" in Facebook.

Social media is generally perceived to be a good thing. After all, just about everyone is on at least one social network, whether that means Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest. That rise in social media presence has led to at least one unintended consequence: an uptick in plastic surgery. A recent poll conducted among plastic surgeons from the American Academy of Facial and Reconstructive Surgery (AAFRS) has found that there has been a significant increase in the number of people who go under the knife in order to look better on social media.

Among the 752 plastic surgeons who were included in the poll, there was a significant increase in cosmetic surgery; while reconstructive surgery remains a substantial portion of plastic surgeries, 73 percent of plastic surgeries in 2012 were cosmetic procedures, up from 62 percent in 2011. While it may appear that women are fueling this demand - there has been a 4,378 percent increase in surgeries to remove excess skin from the arm since 2000, driven in part to admiration for those of First Lady Michelle Obama - much of the increase is fueled by an unexpected segment of society.

"We live in a very visual world, and have come to expect that we will be 'Googled' or 'Facebooked' even before actually meeting someone socially or professionally," Dr. Sam Rizk said to Time magazine. "I see a lot of men and women who are executives or high profile so they are in the public eye. Their photos get taken all the time and they never know where they may end up. Between high definition television, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram, how you look in photos and video clips has definitely become a driver for all cosmetic procedures from Botox to neck lifts."

Social media, much of which is centered around photographs, is certainly able to heighten people's insecurities about their looks. According to Shape magazine, 42 percent of people said that social media made them feel bad about how they looked. However, doctors say that, while social media can readily present users with images of how they think that they should look, it does not often help people screen for the best plastic surgeons in the area. In fact, in 2012, only 7 percent of people used social media to find plastic surgeons, down from 2011. Interestingly, Healio reports that plastic surgeons are using social media to reach out to prospective clients increasingly often.

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