In 2010, over 3.2 million plastic surgery procedures were performed on ethnic patients, representing a 243% increase since 2000. Of all the plastic surgery patients, 25 percent were Black, Asian or Hispanic and this surpassed the total number of men who went in for cosmetics procedures in 2010.
Plastic Surgery More Popular than Ever
As plastic surgery gains popularity, ethnic patients have become more aware of the available options for individuals with their facial features and skin types. With increased media coverage and a spike in the number of cosmetic procedures performed, larger numbers of minorities are being exposed to firsthand results. This has significantly contributed to erasing any stigma, which might have been associated with plastic surgery in the past. Reduced costs, scientific advances and improved technology have contributed to the increasing demand as well.
Ethnic plastic surgery patients have the same overall goals and motivations as anyone else seeking cosmetic surgery. These include looking rejuvenated and refreshed, reducing the signs of aging and having the desire to refine, reduce, enlarge or create symmetry and balance on their body or face.
For the most part, patients desire to keep their ethnic identity; their aim is not to change important facial features, which depict racial character. For example, African American patients who have interest in nose reshaping might have the desire to cut down on the size of the nose, as a means of achieving a harmonious balance with their other facial features; however, they are not typically seeking a more European look.
A number of ethnic patients might be more prone to adverse scarring because of a brown pigment in the skin called melanin. Hypertrophic scars and keloids are common in Asian and African American patients and they appear as raised, thickened tissue along the incision line. Not all patients are risk though. Less invasive techniques can limit scarring and incisions can be strategically placed in areas where scars are less visible.
An unusual, blotchy darkening of the skin known as hyperpigmentation or an odd lightening of the skin called hypopigmentation might occur with certain procedures for facial rejuvenation. These include dermabrasion, chemical peels and laser skin resurfacing. Ethnic patients need to exercise caution when selecting minimally invasive plastic surgery procedures involving exfoliates, chemicals or lasers.
Deciding on the Right Plastic Surgeon
In order to assist in ensuring optimal results, the surgeon must have experience in performing the particular procedures on patients with ethnic skin types. A competent surgeon should adjust their surgical techniques to satisfy the requirements of any ethnic patients. It is important for patients to ask their plastic surgeon for before and after photos or seek referrals from ethnic patients who underwent similar procedures.