Plastic Surgery Reality TV Shows Not Only US Phenomenon

Popular reality TV shows including The Swan, Extreme Makeover and Dr. 90210 continue to capture the attention of millions of Americans across the country, but some researchers say the obsession with cosmetic and plastic surgery makeovers is fueling TV-watching trends around the globe.

The Medical Journal of Australia recently reported a noticeable increase in demand for dramatic weight loss surgery and cosmetic enhancements as more shows such as The Biggest Loser Australia managed to attract nearly a million viewers per episode.

Researchers at the University of Auckland's Department of Psychological Medicine conducted a study to determine how some television shows affect patients who come in for a consultation or get surgery.  The data from the study suggests that more people were likely to pursue surgery after watching shows that show dramatic results. However, these shows often lead to unrealistic expectations. (Source: Medical Journal of Australia)

They've coined the trend 'appearance medicine' and suggest that television does play a significant role in the pursuit of cosmetic surgery.

Last year, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons in the U.S. also conducted a study on first-time patients to determine if reality television had a direct influence on their decision to pursue treatment.  Results of this study revealed that four out of five people were directly influenced from TV shows. (Source:

Still, U.S.-based professional organizations encourage consumers to be realistic about outcomes of surgery and learn as much about the procedure as possible before booking the appointment.  The media and reality television shows often portray only the most successful outcomes of surgery and rarely show the side effects, pain and risks involved. Both the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) and American Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) have issued warnings to potential patients, encouraging them to avoid turning to surgery as a 'quick-fix' solution and to research their procedure to learn about benefits and drawbacks.

Further Reading

  • With bathing suit season right around the corner, plastic surgeons across the country are finding more women are booking up appointments for body contouring and breast augmentation procedures. Dr. Michael Niccole, founder and medical director of CosmetiCare Plastic Surgery Center and MedSpa in Newport Beach, and one of the “Top Plastic Surgeons in America”, reports that his appointment books are full, with a high demand for breast implants, skin tightening procedures and body contouring procedures to help women lose a few inches around the hips and thighs.

  • Women, who want feet that are more beautiful, are flocking to plastic surgery centers around the country to undergo a toe reshaping procedure. Women with very wide toes are “suffering” from a condition that has been coined, ‘toe-besity’. New York-based podiatrist Dr. Oliver Zong recently interviews with “Good Morning America” about this emerging trend, and shares some insights about this elective surgery.

  • Even though women are often stereotyped as driving demand for cosmetic and plastic surgery procedures, a recent study released by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) indicates that more men than ever are heading to the cosmetic surgeon for their own male makeover.