- (Photo: Reuters/Shannon Stapleton)
"Chinplants," or chin implant plastic surgery to enhance or define the chin line, grew dramatically between 2010 and 2011 to become the most increased type of cosmetic procedure. Is our increased social presence on sites like Facebook and Twitter to blame?
Chin implants grew a total of 71 percent in the past two years, outpacing the growth of botox, liposuction, and breast augmentation- three very popular types of cosmetic surgery- combined. Of course, chinplants are a relatively new procedure, so the low starting point provides more opportunity for growth.
The cause? Facebook and other social media sites like it, possibly.
"People have cameras everywhere," Dr. Darrick Antell, a New York plastic surgeon and professor of surgery at Columbia University, told MSNBC. "You can be at a wedding at the buffet table and a moment later see picture of your double chin on Facebook. We're a much more image-driven society than we were even five years ago."
U.S. plastic surgeons reported that 10,593 men had chinplants done in 2011 for a 76 percent increase, and 10,087 women underwent the surgery, a rise of 66 percent. 71 percent was the average.
"Having a strong chin is not something you can gain via diet or exercise," said Dr. Antell. "You're either born with or you see a surgeon to improve it."
Many of these people were over age 40, and sought to gain a more prominent, distinguished chin line. Their age makes them more susceptible to "loose skin under the jaw line," according to the doctor- a problem quickly fixed in under an hour. Malcolm Roth, President of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, agreed.
"The chin and jawline are among the first areas to show signs of aging. People are considering chin augmentation as a way to restore their youthful look just like a facelift or eyelid surgery," Roth explained to Fox News.
In addition to chin implants, plastic surgery in general burgeoned considerably. Cheek implant cases rose by 47 percent, lip augmentation by 49 percent, while total facelifts rose by only 5 percent, and breast augmentation by 4 percent.
Roth theorized that popular services like FaceTime, Tango, OoVoo, and Skype allow face-to-face chatting, but could also make users more aware of how they look to others.
"As more people see themselves on video chat technology, they may notice that their jawline is not as sharp as they want it to be. Chin implants can make a dramatic difference," he revealed.
Despite the possible gains from chin implants like more self-confidence and a more attractive profile, there are negatives. A relatively short recovery time is overshadowed by the possibility of infection sometimes even 10 years after the procedure. Chinplants are reversible, however.