Description: Write a critical paper on the topic of plastic surgery and the role social media has on influencing the decision makingprocess of people to go through plastic surgery and the ethical guil

Critical Thinking Project


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There has been an enormous rise in the number of aesthetic procedures in the last two

decades, meaning that everything from the good, the bad to the ugly, has seen an increase in

numbers since the traditional forms of aesthetic procedures. Also, with the rise in social

media, with close to 3.48 billion users worldwide as of the beginning of the year, these

numbers continue to rise with 9% (290 million users) per year (Hader, & Brown, 2010).

Notwithstanding, social media has become a breeding ground for most companies to find

potential clients, market their services, and post their achievements in a bid to attract more

people (Hoffman & Fodor, 2010). However, questions as ethical standards and guidelines

being followed by these online sites as well as what approach to management should be

followed erupt faster than they are answered. As there are adverse effects and consequences

to these procedures, are users and patients warned about the impact and the long-lasting

results they will have to live with, whether it works or not? Looking at the looping effect,

educational content and the ethical aspect of plastic surgery with connection to social media,

we will look at what makes somebody wake up and decide they are going to get their faces or

other body parts reconstructed and why.

As with statistics showed from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS),

75% of the people go for a ‘revision’ what is considered remaking of a body part as a lousy

nose or mouth or lips (Rohrich & Weinstein, 2012). 25% of people are usually first-time

patients. Studies also show that within the two decades that plastic surgery has changed, it

has social media to thank (Hader, & Brown, 2010). As prices went up close to 300%, experts

boast the high end of the spectrum as well as the kind of payment that comes with it. Also,

factors as a lifestyle change and changes in what people want has not only increased, but they

are varied and more inclined on what they want and not that the procedure is. There is also

the factor that most procedures are now becoming non-invasive and more products that

inhibit aging. As with most aesthetic procedures, they have now become not only acceptable

but also widespread and used for fixing various cosmetic issues. For what is considered a

botched procedure, a plastic surgeon can be found to fix a surgery gone wrong.

The most crucial factor that has driven the 300% rise in numbers is social media and

filters used (Hader, & Brown, 2010). A user will take a photo and maybe decide to edit or

manipulate it. With social media, there are only two main things the user is most likely to do

– they will either share the photo or take inspiration from other users and people who have

had better photos or surgeries done. After taking inspirations in these social media sites, users

might decide to improve only on what they think needs to be worked on and this is in a bid to

look as identical as to what they saw or what inspired them. Looking and taking inspiration

will lead to the user changing their own looks or their bodies and improve on what they do

not like to get what they think they will like after the surgery or when they take photos. Once

they improve their photos or their bodies given the source and type of inspiration taken,

chances are they will go back and take more photos or may go back to the plastic surgeons to

have another part of their body manipulated. In essence, what is being created is feedback-

looping effects that will have the user take more better looking photos to post on social

media. Suppose they get more recognition and more likes, then chances are they will increase

the frequency or will work better at taking only the best of photos. If it also does not work, or

they do not get the results they wanted, they might go back and make adjustments on their

body parts to suite what they think will give them recognition or make them feel better about

themselves. The looping effect provides feedback for the user, and though not good or bad,

feedback will determine how far the user might be willing to go to get the changes done,

either termed good or bad (Davies, 2004). If a user will go to the extent of lying about their

body or using all savings to get a surgery done, then that can be considered unthoughtful and

a bad idea. Unless one has the funds and knows a professional who does good work, then that

will be better. What however is wrong with the feedback and looping effect is that it creates

an unnatural and unrealistic level of tech technicalities that deceive people making them

believe photos are natural or a procedure can be gotten for nothing. Another effect is that is

has many people who are copying other people, who probably copied other people too. The

positive side of this however only benefits those in the plastic surgery industry and not the

patients. As more people will be coming in with requests that are more trendier and more

unique than the last, the industry is at per with what is modern, making more in money and

patients. Using examples as Instagram and Face Tune, many young people feel the constant

need to want to be like Kim Kardashian or Yolanda Hadid not knowing that there are effects

to injectables and having a body reconstructed for fun. For the doctors and surgeons in this

field, the best that could happen is a patient requesting for a procedure the doctor can perform

or better yet, has ever performed before. Also, they learn from previous procedures making

them better at what they do and seem like ‘experts’. The opposite of this, however, is the

unrealistic feel and look to plastic surgery that after some time one can easily notice that a

plastic surgeon might have been involved.

Notwithstanding, getting a cosmetic procedure done is now accessible because of the

way they are easily advertised on social media. Videos and photos are now widespread,

showing how cosmetic procedures are done. There are also various procedures for various

issues as hair removal, laser treatments, plastic surgery, and dental work. Social media, what

was to be used as a photo-sharing platform, is now a marketplace for advertisers. Instead of

consumers finding and interacting with family and friends, most are bombarded with

advertisements for the perfect look. However, someone may not be as interested in the

procedures, looking at these ads, whether endorsed or not, will pique a user’s interests and

most women end up getting a procedure that was not necessary in the first place. Plastic

surgeons are now adhering to the codes of ethical conduct, especially when it comes to social

media and marketing (Snyder, 2012). The Society of Plastic Surgeons members and other

certified plastic surgeons have chosen to follow these codes, as there is a lot of shocking

content that can be found online. Also, they have taken it upon themselves to teach and

educate patients or potential clients to what it really means to undergo plastic surgery

(Davies, 2004). While not everyone who wants a procedure knows how it is done, most

doctors are now using these platforms to educate people. For such practitioners, users of

social media are advised to do their research before going through any procedure. Such

outrageous content is now available to teenagers and other younger users who feel the need

and pressure to correct a part of their body despite the process not being important.

To the question of beauty, most women will feel inadequate. Doves Research found

only 4% of women consider themselves beautiful. Like most of the beauty around

manufactured, it still begs the question of who it serves. With the answer being the beauty

industry, they act to make people spend their money to fix problems that are not necessarily

medical or life-threatening. Also, as most procedures do not come cheap, they target those

economically stable and solicit all manner of remedies to help consumers fit in. but given that

women would do anything to fit into what society terms beautiful or complete, women go to

the extent of having such procedures done by unscrupulous surgeons who are out to make

money. Notwithstanding, a botched surgery means the patient did not get what they wanted

and will not go back to being as they were before. When it comes to ethical practice, as most

surgeons are to also do their research and know what candidate is suitable for what type of

procedure, unethical surgeons will be in it for the money without being professional in how

they handle their patients. Not only does money make a patient acceptable to having an

operation, they need to be mentally prepared and know what is involved in the surgery and

what it means to get the surgery done.

Although there are many in-betweens in plastic surgery, more emphasis is on the

unrealistic images of how people are now expected to look. These images do not exist in real

life, and what is used to attract more audience and clients is in actuality, shouting that people,

particularly women, are not beautiful unless they have no underarms sagging or a big tipped

nose or a double chin. In a bid to bridge the beauty gap created, unscrupulous surgeons opt to

offer surgical services to naïve and maybe uneducated members of the public who want to

look like the effect of a particular filter. The delusion created has, in some cases, bent rules

and code of ethics to get patients the types of bodies or body parts they need. It has also

created the cycle of more and more unrealistic expectation as well as bodies from the society.

And to go the extra mile to get their issues fixed, including going to any surgeon, certified or

not, shows that social media, in particular, has a significant looping effect and influence on

the beauty industry and in plastic surgery to be specific. That notwithstanding, some of these

illiterate surgeons practice the procedures unethically with little or no regard to patients or

respect for them.


Hader, A. & Brown, E. (2010). Patient privacy and social media. AANA Journal. 78(4), 270-


Snyder. L. (2012). American College of Physicians Ethics, Professionalism, and Human

Rights Committee. American College of Physicians Ethics Manual: Ann Internal Medicine

156(1), 73-104

Davies, L. (2004). Education and conflict: Complexity and chaos. London: Taylor and

Francis Group, RoutledgeFalmer.

Hoffman, D. & Fodor, M. (2010). Can you measure the ROI of your social media marketing?

Sloan Management Review, 52(1), 41.

Rohrich, R., & Weinstein, G. (2012). Connect with plastic surgery: social media for good.

Plastic Reconstruction Surgery. 129(3), 789-792.

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