Are 'selfies' leading to an increase in plastic surgery?

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SARASOTA, Fla. - The American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery finds an increase in requests for cosmetic procedures may be linked to ‘selfies’ and the fixation with celebrity culture.

Pictures taken on our little mobile device may be a reason the selfie-obsessed are opting for nose jobs, face lifts and fillers. And it’s not just Suncoast teenagers jumping on the social media self-portrait bandwagon.

Everybody is taking selfies, and budding photographers range in age. “I'd say, you know, middle school, high school college, and older,” says 17-year-old selfie-take Madison Penner.

She is concerned about posting the picture because she knows where it goes. “Yes, like all over the internet.”

53-year-old Suncoast mom Hannah Gibbons takes selfies to stay in touch. “My girlfriend, who is in California, we traded selfies whenever we go to a hair salon.”

But would she resort to plastic surgery to improve her selfie image? “Well, definitely a lot of pressure at my age to look good, and I don’t know how far I'd go.”

Dr. Scott Engel of Sarasota Plastic Surgery Center says there's a rise in cosmetic surgery because of new technology and social media. “With selfies, with Skype, and Facebook, there's no question that people are noticing they're aging a lot earlier, or they're concerned about their appearance more because now they're in front of a large mass of people instead of being hidden behind the phone.”

Patients he says come in with pictures they've taken of themselves wanting a correction, or some improvement. “When you take a selfie, sometimes you take it at certain angles. If you take it at an angle when you're looking down, it sometimes accentuates some of your not so good qualities.”

And it’s not just the under thirty set. “The interesting thing is that a lot of parents or grandparents are taking selfies for themselves and sending them to their kids across the country,” says Dr. Engel.

He says that’s when they may notice changes not always seen in the mirror. “So instead of speaking to one person on Facebook, you're speaking to thousands of people. And so you're almost like you are your own celebrity.”

Even 83-year-old Peter Gibbons takes selfies. He says he mugs for the camera, confident of his image. “I usually send them to the family when something great happens.”

Would 17-year-old Madison consider plastic surgery to improve her selfie image? “I think that's absolutely crazy. I dont know, I dont think I would do that.”

The word selfie was not used in the survey of plastic surgeons. The question does read: “Have you seen an increase in requests for plastic surgery stemming from people being more self-aware of their looks because of social media? If so, estimate the percentage of requests for each procedure.”