Ethnic plastic surgery is hardly new. In the early part of the 20th century, European Jews opted for smaller, straighter noses and Irish Americans for flattened ears, all in the interest of looking more “American.”
Today, almost the opposite is true – while people of all ethnicities choose plastic surgery, many want to reshape themselves to their original culture’s trends and tastes. In fact, more than 3.2 million cosmetic plastic surgery procedures, some 25 percent of all surgeries, were performed on ethnic patients in 2010, an increase of 243 percent since 2000.
With advances in and overall acceptance of plastic surgery, ethnic patients are increasingly asking for and receiving the types of procedures that will enhance, rather than completely alter, their skin types and facial features. For instance, while typical Asian eyelid surgery is geared towards a wider, fuller eye, patients also want it to look natural and maintain the “almond” shape.
The same concept applies Indian American rhinoplasties; patients are heavily influenced by the look of actors in the popular and colorfully ethnic Bollywood musicals. “Most patients with more of a hump and a larger nose want it more refined and less noticeable,” comments Dr. Anureet Bajaj.
While traditionally, few Indian Americans sought plastic surgery, preferring to focus more on inner beauty, Bollywood’s attractive Indian stars have had an impact on mainly women (and even some men). And with a rapidly growing Indian American population that now exceeds 2.5 million, plastic surgery is even more in demand, especially rhinoplasties.
There were a quarter of a million nose surgeries in 2011 alone. Recent studies have shown that special care needs to taken for Indian Americans to meet their desired appearance. “You don’t want to lose your ethnicity,” adds Dr. Bajaj. A one-size-fits-all, tiny upturned nose “would not look good.”