Technology evolves to adapt to human needs, and we humans rush to make space for new technology. The FaceTime Facelift, named after Apple’s iPhone video chat feature, caters to people who hate how they look while video chatting. For those who haven’t tried it, be warned: The new view of you might be a shock.
At first this concept sounded crazy, but now we can see it as an interesting new way to market facelifts to those of us who spend a lot of time showing our faces online.
Robert K. Sigal, M.D., the American board-certified plastic surgeon who came up with this concept, says it was a response to people who say “I don’t like the way I look when I chat. I look full and heavy in the neck”.
“Patients come in with their iPhones and show me how they look on FaceTime. The angle at which the phone is held, with the caller looking downward into the camera, really captures any heaviness, fullness and sagging of the face and neck. People say ‘I never knew I looked like that! I need to do something!’”
“FaceTime is making people hate their faces so much they’re getting plastic surgery,” announced the tech blog, Gizmodo, in a sarcastic article about the new procedure. The Huffington Post announced the news with the opening line, “Ladies and gentlemen, prepare to be horrified”. Even the New York Times Fashion & Style section covered the news in an article titled Ready for My Video Chat Close-Up. Despite the cynical and amusing responses from on- and off-line media, most of us know the feeling. Who among us has not logged onto Skype or any other video chat service without caring a bit about how we look? You don’t have to be vain or obsessive to worry about how you present yourself to the other party, who might be an interviewer, a potential employer or client. Appearances do matter.
According to Dr. Sigal, many prospective patients are young people who do not really need neck or facelifts. For them a little liposuction takes care of the problem. Those people who need—or want—lifts, look for procedures that do not involve typical neck-lift incisions.
In a video that has since gone viral on YouTube, Dr. Sigal says his key reason for finding an alternate procedure came when his wife purchased an iPhone. “Usually,” says Dr. Segal, “the only people who see the neck lift cut under the chin are lovers and dogs, and neither one of them cares. Except, that is, for people who are watching you on FaceTime.” In response to his wife’s distress, he came up with something new, a neck lift technique that involves incisions behind the ears, with a lateral sling under the chin. “This way you can avoid an incision that can be seen during video chats.”
Neck lifts are just the tip of the iceberg. According to an article in American news magazine The Week, triple chins and jowly necks are only the beginning. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons reports a “skyrocketing demand for chin implants.” Apparently chin implant surgery has increased by a whopping 71 per cent in 2011 compared with 2010, and more than half of the new surgeries are performed on men. Cheek implants are on the rise among younger chatters, and lip augmentations have risen by almost 50 per cent.
So far as we know, Australian surgeons have not started performing the FaceTime Facelift or equivalent procedures. But who knows? Faces aren’t getting any younger, and video chatting isn’t going away any time soon.