N.Y. Times Explores Ethnic Differences in Cosmetic Surgery

ethnic differences in cosmetic surgeryDo different nationalities prefer different cosmetic surgery procedures? A  New York Times article finds that often different ethnic groups choose procedures that are “tailored to their cultural preferences and ideals of beauty.”

“When a patient comes in from a certain ethnic background and of a certain age, we know what they’re going to be looking for. We are sort of amateur sociologists,” said Dr. Kaveh Alizadeh, of Long Island Plastic Surgical Group.

Here are examples of  some of the ethnic trends doctors interviewed for the story reported seeing:

Cosmetic surgery has been growing in populartiy within ethnic groups in the United States. A 2010 survey by the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery revealed that more than half of the respondents thought the popularity of cosmetic surgery had grown among members of their racial/ethnic group in the last five years.

Motivations for ethnic cosmetic procedures seem to have changed according to Victoria Pitts-Taylor, a sociology professor at Queens College. She said that in the early days of cosmetic surgery immigrants underwent procedures to try to look “more American.”

Today, however, rather than trying to fit in, many immigrants have procedures that reflect their home culture’s trends.

“My patients are proud of looking Hispanic,” said Dr. Jeffrey Yager, whose office is in a largely Dominican neighborhood in Manhattan. “I don’t get the patients who want to obscure their ethnicity.”

One Dominican patient of Dr. Yager’s is Italia Vigniero, 27, who got breast implants in 2008 and is considering a buttocks lift. “We Latinas define ourselves with our bodies,” she said. “We always have curves.”

The doctors pointed out that in addition to their own cultures, immigrants are also influenced by American pop culture and reality TV shows about cosmetic surgery.