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woman taking a selfie; do you need surgery when you have filters?

Summary: According to some new research, many people are asking, do you need surgery when you have filters? We’re talking about SnapChat and Instagram filters (as well as third party plugins) that can help you eliminate lines and wrinkles from photos. You can even straighten out your nose if you really want to. Of course, those kind of results will only show up in photos–are they really driving down the popularity of facial plastic surgery?

Do You Need Surgery When You Have Filters For Your Phone?

We’ve written plenty of articles about how social media is fueling a plastic surgery frenzy! But now it turns out that might not be true. In fact, we’re getting some reports that social media might be inhibiting people from undergoing plastic surgery. That’s right–thanks to Instagram, some people are avoiding plastic surgery.

At least, that’s according to findings reported by the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons. According to their data, women (the gender that the study happened to focus on) are less interested in getting facial plastic surgery and more interested in getting plastic surgery around the body.

The reasoning comes down to filters. The writers of the study surmise that women are avoiding plastic surgery of the face because those kinds of results can be accomplished with the kind of filters you find on Instagram. Instead, these patients are more keen on plastic surgery of the body, where filters cannot successfully be employed.

What’s a Filter and How Does it Work?

Now, “filters” are not to be confused with “fillers.” When we talk about fillers, we’re talking about dermal filler injections (Juvederm, Voluma, that kind of thing). When we talk about filters, we’re speaking of Snapchat and Instagram. In fact, most social media comes with filters available for when you want to post photos.

These filters can work wonders. There’s the basic type of filter, which can make your image black and white or sepia toned. And there are more advanced filters, which users can employ to remove spots, blemishes, and wrinkles from the skin.

The idea behind this recent study’s result is that people are using filters to eliminate the lines and wrinkles they’d usually use surgery to get rid of. It makes sense. Filters are much, much less expensive than surgery. And you can still look as good as ever in all your pictures (you just to put a little more time into them).

Cost Benefit Analysis

It seems that these patients are doing a pretty simple cost benefit analysis. Here’s what I mean by that. If they’ve got a plastic surgery budget of about $10,000, that’s enough money for one procedure or another:

  • A facelift could indeed give them the youthful look they’ve always wanted–but they wouldn’t be able to do anything about excess skin or fat around the body (for example).
  • They could use filters to get the effect of a facelift (in images, anyway) and instead use the money to address areas that filters cannot reach.
  • In a way, then, patients are getting two procedures for the price of one–at least in terms of what they can show on social media.

This cost benefit analysis only works, of course, if all you’re really interested in is how you look on social media and not how you look in the mirror. For some patients, that is indeed enough. It’s really going to be up to you and depend on what your priorities are.

Are Injectables Having An Impact?

The other reason, I think, that facial plastic surgery procedures could be getting less popular has to do with the rise of non surgical options. Patients these days have the ability to get Juvederm or Botox or even undergo a non surgical nose job. While these procedures certainly do not produce results that are as transformative as surgery, they do offer a less expensive alternative.

So, going back to that cost benefit analysis, it’s entirely possible that some patients would rather get subtle results for a smaller investment–and put the rest of their money into a body contouring procedure that will generate a bolder transformation. That way they can kind of have their cake and eat it too.

Talk to You Surgeon About Your Options

It’s hard to know if you’re in a place where Snapchat filters, Botox, or a facelift is going to be most beneficial for your face. It depends on what you’re trying to accomplish, what your starting point might be, and your unique physiology (not to mention the size of your budget).

When you have a consultation with a surgeon, you can discuss all aspects of these procedures and come to a firm answer about what might be best for you moving forward. Do you need surgery when you have filters? Maybe. That will likely be decided between you and your surgeon.

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