Smaller nose, flatter stomach, bigger butt, fuller boobs, plumper lips — there is no shortage of physical traits that, to many, are in need of fixing. With the media constantly contorting our perception of beauty, it can be hard to keep up, and even harder to be content with our own unique and natural aesthetic. It is often because of this that many men and women seek cosmetic surgery, whether minor or major, to tweak the traits that make them appear more “attractive.”
While we’re well aware of the older generations seeking cosmetic surgeries such as botox and facelifts in an effort to fight aging, it’s surprising to realize that even those in their twenties and thirties partake in plastic surgery. According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, Millennials make up 26.8% of all surgical procedures by age, placing them as the second largest group after GenX (aged 35-50). This is certainly still a growing trend, too, as 64% of members of the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery report an increase in cosmetic surgery or injectable treatments in patients under age 30.
The top of the list? Breast augmentation (or the classic “boob job”) with a whopping number of 146,430 procedures in 2015 alone. This number made up nearly half of all cosmetic plastic surgeries, with liposuction, nose jobs, tummy tucks and breast lifts falling in line thereafter. Between all five top surgeries, Millennials spent an incredible $2.2 billion last year in an effort to change the way they look.
We know what you’re thinking. Oh, the amazing things they could have done with all that money instead. Perhaps an experiential round-the-world trip, or even splurging on a celebrity-style first class vacation with friends. The reality is, though, that often travel and cosmetic procedures are combined. While there is no real reliable data focused on Millennials, the Medical Tourism Association reports that 33% of patients traveled abroad for cosmetic surgery. There has also been a rise in in the number of plastic surgery vacations (yes, it’s a thing) and packages offered by travel agencies.
But without demand, there would be no supply, which points to the fact that people are looking to travel abroad for their procedures. According to Patients Beyond Borders, the top countries visited for this include Brazil (known for their popular Brazilian butt lift, where fat is taken out of the stomach and injected into the backside), Thailand (where boob jobs are quick and affordable), South Korea (where facial surgeries are practically a right of passage) and Costa Rica, to name a few. The foremost, Brazil, is known as the “World Capital of Plastic Surgery”, and is particularly popular among the rich and famous.
So why does such a young population feel the need to alter their aesthetic? Often, social media platforms like Instagram can make them feel inferior next to the 'Insta-famous' elite. The 'Kardashian effect' or 'selfie mania' has been pushing more and more young people to try and achieve the same level of beauty as their favourite celebrities.
But buyer beware, as even celebrities have been botched by plastic surgeons. The risks and dangers associated with any surgery spans across borders, and some cosmetic surgical procedures have the potential to leave you worse off than when you started. Make sure you do the appropriate research on the doctors and facilities, and check your insurance policies in terms of medical coverage. There's no doubt that plastic surgery is on the rise, but only you can determine if it's really worth the price.