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How Does Race & Ethnicity Affect Plastic Surgery?

Did you know that the ethnicity of a person can play a factor in their decision to undergo a cosmetic surgery procedure? The types of procedures a person seeks to undergo can vary based on ethnicity and the complications and risk of some cosmetic surgeries are directly tied to a person's ethnic background.

Ethnicity Can Determine Procedure Type

When cosmetic surgery first became popular, it was common for some ethnicities to request certain procedures in order to appear more "American." Around 100 years ago, it was not surprising for those from Ireland and other European countries to seek out ear and nose reshaping surgeries in order to blend in and hide certain characteristics of their ethnic identity.

While ear and nose reshaping surgeries remain common, there are other surgeries that appeal to different demographics. Those of Asian descent often visit cosmetic surgeons for eyelid surgery and forehead adjustments. Rhinoplasty surgeries are common for those of Mediterranean descent.

While each person has a personal reason for undergoing any cosmetic surgery procedure, there are race-related trends that can steer a person towards a particular surgery.

Risks Related to Race

Trends related to race may correspond with risks that are also related to race. A common example of a cosmetic procedure that is complicated by race is laser hair removal surgery. Laser hair removal works best on lighter colored skin where the contrast between skin and hair is extremely marked. Those with darker skin may need to examine other forms of hair removal treatments or find a surgeon that uses laser equipment that responds to the needs of darker skin.

There are also health risks that can occur after a procedure. Postoperative complications are most common in older African American and Hispanic patients of cosmetic surgery. Oftentimes, this is due to preexisting medical conditions.

Consulting with an experienced and board-certified cosmetic surgeon before undergoing a cosmetic surgery is in any patient's best interests. A plastic surgeon may be able to address concerns specific to ethnicity and help you look ahead towards the surgical outcome of a procedure.

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