When a plastic surgeon invited Reddit readers to ‘ask me anything,’ he didn’t anticipate the barrage of questions on every imaginable aspect of his practice. In just eleven days more than 600 knowledge-hungry readers had reached out for information.

Team Costhetics was fascinated by some of the enquiries and by questions like these, many of which pop up again and again from people all over the world:

  • What’s the wildest thing a patient has requested?
  • Does genital surgery work?
  • Should children get cosmetic surgery?
  • Will a tummy tuck make me look slim?
  • What are alternatives to cosmetic surgery?

We believe the questions offer a revealing look into who we are, and who some of us want to be. That’s especially true of the question close to the top of the posts.

Top Question of 2016: Ethnic Cosmetic Surgery

A cosmetic surgery topic that’s currently trending revolves around a practice known as ethnic cosmetic surgery. The curiosity is likely being fuelled by the media’s increased coverage of the boom in medical tourism. Individuals seeking ethnic cosmetic surgery are like any other patients. Many want to reduce visible signs of facial ageing. Others want to create facial balance and symmetry.

At this time, however, ethnic cosmetic surgery primarily targets Asians, Hispanics, and African-Americans rather than Caucasians. There are no reports specific to Australia, but according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, from 2005 to 2013:

  • Cosmetic surgery performed on African-American patients – up 56%
  • Cosmetic surgery performed on Asian-American patients – up 126%
  • Cosmetic surgery performed on Hispanic-Americans – up 84%

This trend has caused some concern regarding the loss of cultural identity and whether it is appropriate to elevate one culture’s definition of beauty above another. An art project undertaken by Esther Honig in 2014 illustrates this concept visually. The artist sent a woman’s photograph to 25 international editors with the instruction “Make her beautiful.”

The results are astonishing.

Costhetics Says: Ask This First

If you’re considering any kind of aesthetic enhancement, you’re sure to have a lot of questions of your own, just like the folks who posted on Reddit. At Costhetics, we believe the first thing you must determine is this: What are my surgeon’s credentials?

To answer that question, we recommend you look into the three E’s:

  • Education – You need to ascertain whether the provider you choose has received the proper training for the procedure you have selected.
  • Experience – You want a surgeon or aesthetician who has performed your chosen procedure many, many times and can document his/her success with things such as testimonials and before-and-after pictures.
  • Ethics – Surgeons who are members of an accredited association are dedicated to maintaining the highest ethical standards in their work. The same cannot be said for minimally educated and unqualified ‘hotel room’ providers whose primary motivation is money, not patient satisfaction.

You can check a potential surgeon’s registration and status and qualifications in the professional registry maintained by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency.

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