According to Bruce L. Cunningham, MD, MS, President of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons and Professor of Surgery at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, rhinoplasty and procedures to minimize the signs of aging are top the list as the most sought after types of cosmetic plastic surgery in these groups. “Rhinoplasty is particularly in demand [as] it has such a strong cultural connotation,” he said. “Surgery to reverse the signs of aging, particularly in the upper face is also more common as this demographic age group decides to use discretionary income for aesthetic surgical procedures.”
Explore This IssueJuly 2006
Other types of procedures high in demand among these ethnic groups include breast augmentation or reduction, liposuction, and eyelid surgery (for Asians). Along with these surgical procedures, the most common minimally invasive procedures include microdermabrasion, chemical peel, injectable wrinkle fillers, and Botox.
Understanding the Needs of Minority Patients
With this increased demand for cosmetic plastic surgeries among ethnic minorities, otolaryngologists–head and neck surgeons and plastic surgeons will be challenged to understand the values and priorities of these groups. According to Dr. Cunningham, a new level of cultural and ethnic awareness will be required. “Many of these patients have strong ethnic pride, and unlike prior generations, are not as eager to lose that reflection of their heritage,” he said. “Rather, they are seeking to refine the ethnic look within their own cultural norms.”
Dr. Jewell agrees. “I believe that it is important to respect the ethnic features of individuals and to not ‘westernize’ facial features,” he said.
Along with the need for recognition and sensitivity to the cultural and ethnic needs of these populations, otolaryngologists and plastic surgeons need to be aware of specific risks and complications that may accompany plastic surgery in particular ethnic groups. For example, Asian- and African-Americans may be more susceptible to developing adverse scars after surgery, such as keloids and hypertrophic scars, because of the pigmentation of their skin. In addition, pigment irregularities, either hyper- or hypo-pigmentation, may occur after facial procedures such as chemical peels.
Men on the Rise
Women still are the predominant group to undergo cosmetic procedures, making up about 91% of all cosmetic procedures in 2005 based on ASAPS statistics. However, about 9% of all procedures in 2005 were undergone by men. Although the number of surgeries in 2005 for men dropped by about 15% from 2004, a recent survey by the ASAPS found that 21% of men would consider cosmetic surgery—which represented a 50% increase from 2004.