Are Selfies Inspiring Plastic Surgery?

WINCHESTER, Va. - Almost like looking in the mirror, for some, taking and posting selfies online is a daily activity.

"A lot of things I am reading talk about selfies, and the push towards more facial plastic surgery," said Dr. Matthew Karen, an Ear, Nose and Throat and Facial Plastic Surgeon out of Winchester.

"My practice is up ticking. Can I tell you it's from selfies? I don't know, but I can tell you that I do have a lot of patients who come in with iPhone pictures that show me what their nose looks like, and then show me another picture of someone else," he said.

Even if selfies are the reason for a spike in plastic surgery, not all patients are about the plastic.

"I had problems with nasal congestion, a lot of nasal congestion, especially at night when I would go to bed,” said Pam Erb, a patient of Karen’s. “I'd have to take nose spray every night, and that's not good for you."

Erb said she was addicted to nasal spray, and went to see Karen, who owns his own practice, Exclusive Faces Cosmetic Surgery & MediSpa, for help.

"I do have to educate patients on the difference between what a rhinoplasty is and what a septoplasty is," he said.

A rhinoplasty is a cosmetic procedure. A septoplasty corrects nasal problems, like congestion, and is usually covered through insurance.

"Basically the nose is a very key structure. Not only helps you breath, but it warms, filters, humidifies the air,” said Karen. “Half of my rhinoplasty patients get septoplasty as well for functional breathing problems."

As for Erb, who decided to go with a combo rhino-septoplasty procedure, she is thrilled with her new nose.

"After I had it done, I can breathe! It's so nice, I don't even snore anymore. I have so much more self confidence now,” she said, with a smile.

Karen says many patients who undergo a septoplasty, will use cartilage removed from that procedure to help with cosmetic construction during a rhinoplasty.

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