Plastic Surgeons Report an Alarming New Trend of Snapchat Dysmorphia

If you wish you looked more like your doctored, filtered selfies – you are not alone. Plastic surgeons say they are noticing a trend of what they call “snapchat dysmorphia.”

doctors say Snapchat Dysmorphia is a variation of Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD). The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) categorizes BDD in the obsessive–compulsive spectrum.

A growing number of patients are seeking to look like their Snapchat-filtered selfies. Doctor Gabriel Chiu, Beverly Hills Plastic Surgery Inc. Chief Medical Director, joins the ‘Closing Bell’ team to discuss Snapchat dysmorphia and how doctors are dealing with the requests.

According to an article publiched in JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery on August 2, 2018, current data show that 55% of surgeons report seeing patients who request surgery to improve their appearance in selfies. The figure is up from 42% in 2015. The survey also noted an increase in the number of patients sharing their surgical process and results on social media.

Excessive scrutiny of selfies is also changing the presenting concerns of patients. Prior to the popularity of selfies, the most common complaint from those seeking rhinoplasty was the hump of the dorsum of the nose. Today, patients are more concerned with nasal and facial asymmetry. Along with rhinoplasties, hair transplants and eyelid surgical procedures, plastic surgeon are seeing more requests to improve selfie appearance.

Overall, social media apps, such as Snapchat and Facetune, are providing a new reality of beauty for today’s society. The apps allow people to allow alter their appearance in an instant and conform to an unrealistic and often unattainable standard of beauty. While filters that add flowers or animal ears to a photograph are clearly an embellishment, other edits may involve more subtle changes that promote pressure to look a certain way.

Filtered selfies available on smart phone apps can have especially harmful effects on adolescents or those with BDD because these groups may more severely internalize this beauty standard.

See also
Rajanala S, Maymone MBC, Vashi NA. Selfies-Living in the Era of Filtered Photographs. JAMA Facial Plast Surg. 2018 Aug 2.

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