Photo: Hispanics and plastic surgery
Ask plastic surgeons what procedures they do the most often and you’ll likely get a different answer from each depending on where they are located and who their clients are. And it appears that immigrants are going under the knife for different reasons than their ancestors.
Surgeons in New York have identified that a number of people of certain ethnic groups are requesting the same surgeries time and time again.
In the predominantly-Dominican Upper Manhattan area women are asking for lifts to their rear-ends. In Flushing, Queens, Chinese patients want their flipped up noses to flip down. In Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, Russian women are getting their breasts enlarged. Koreans in Chinatown are having their jaw lines slimmed down. Egyptians are getting face lifts. Iranians, nose jobs.
Dr. Kaveh Alizadeh admits that the trends can seem quite stereotypical, but one look at his appointment book, and one can’t help but see what he sees.
“When a patient comes in from a certain ethnic background and of a certain age, we know what they’re going to be looking for. We are sort of amateur sociologists,” said Dr. Alizadeh, who is the president of the Long Island Plastic Surgical Group, which has three clinics in New York.
What has changed over the years, is that while immigrants that arrived a century ago, in the early days of plastic surgery, were going under the knife to help them assimilate, today’s immigrants are having surgery trying to look like the ideal examples among their culture.
Spanish-speaking Dr. Jeffrey S. Yager of Manhattan’s predominantly Dominican Washington Heights neighborhood says his “patients are proud of looking Hispanic.” He adds that he doesn’t not get “the patients who want to obscure their ethnicity.”
His Dominican patient Italia Vigniero, 27, had breast implants put in 2008, and said she now considering a buttocks lift to achieve what she believes to be “the silhouette of a woman.”
While some procedures are relatively common among all U.S patients (breast implants, Botox, etc.) others are more abstract, such as Chinese men having cosmetic filler injected into their earlobes to be “more prosperous,” Italian women having surgery to make their knees look younger, and a number of Asians are having “double eye-lid surgery” as it is believed that big eyes are more beautiful.
So while Irish immigrants from a century ago where having their eyes pinned back, and Jewish immigrants were getting nose jobs to help assimilate, times have changed. And while it may seem nice that a number of people aren’t trying to look “American” – whatever that is – and are looking to their own cultures, the problem still remains that many are aiming to look perfect – once again, whatever that is.