“Hi guys! So this is my boob job vlog, I’m sooo excited! This is how you choose your breast size!” YouTube star
Welcome to the new world of enhanced “beauty” where there’s nothing natural about the faces and bodies created by cosmetic procedures.
Fuelled by social media influencers on Instagram, YouTube and Snapchat, cosmetic surgery has entered the mainstream.
“What I’m finding is, instead of hiding it, like they would have a few years ago, most people are kind of flaunting it…I’ve had my lips done, I’ve had my cheeks done. I’ve had a little bit in my jaw.” Social media influencer
The “Insta Effect” of social media has seen growing numbers of young women choosing to alter their appearance, as though it’s as simple as buying a new set of clothes.
“The problem I get is that people perceive a cosmetic procedure to have limited or no risk and only upside, and that’s not the case.” Surgeon
Doctors offering cosmetic surgery are becoming social media stars in their own right and it’s redefining the meaning of their doctor/patient relations.
“They write to you… ‘Look, here’s my Insta page, I’ve got this many loyal followers. If you perform surgery for me, I will promote you on my page.’” Surgeon
From dermal fillers and Botox, to butt lifts and breast implants, women are undergoing treatments that could change their lives forever, and not in the ways they were expecting.
“It looked deformed. It was sitting way higher than the other one. It was very out of shape.” Patient
Reporter Louise Milligan has uncovered cases of women left disfigured and in pain, struggling to find the money to afford corrective surgery to give them back their dignity.
Underpinning the growth in the industry is a business model targeting women who can barely afford the procedures by selling the dream of a dream of a “new you”.
“It was all about accessible surgery, advertising price point, that you can change your life for a coffee a day. You know, someone who has low self-esteem, who has low confidence, especially after going through a divorce or being on a single parenting pension.”
As this investigation shows, when things go wrong, the physical and financial costs are devastating.
“I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t eat. I couldn’t do anything but sit there and cry in agony because it got to the point where it was so bad.” Patient
Doctors left to pick up the pieces are warning that the booming industry is creating a dangerous legacy.
“It scares me. This is a big problem. And it’s going to get bigger.” Surgeon