The African American population in the United States has begun to condone and embrace plastic surgery in much greater numbers during the past several years. According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, approximately 1.3 million African American people have had some form of cosmetic surgery performed between 1997 and 2002.
In the past, cosmetic surgeries were less popular among black Americans because they were seen as a cultural sell-out, a way to become “whiter” or more European in features. Over time, however, as procedures have been modified to cater to the needs of different ethnicities, the stigma of selling-out has decreased. Plus, the past few decades have seen a rise in non-white supermodels and media idols. These days, instead of the white image of beauty that applies to all races, each ethnic group has gained its own definition of beauty. And black men and women are increasingly turning to plastic surgeons to help them achieve that ideal. Cosmetic surgery is no longer seen as a way to look “whiter” among black people, but simply as a way to reduce the unfavorable effects of age, acne, and genetics.
In addition to the decreased cultural stigma attached to plastic surgery, some suggest that the procedures are gaining popularity among the African American segment of society as the black middle class has grown in size in recent years, creating a larger black population with disposable income available for cosmetic surgeries.
Most Common Procedures:
The most common plastic surgery procedures among African Americans include liposuction, tummy tucks, breast reductions, eyelid surgery, and nose jobs. Also high on the list are breast implants and buttock augmentation. Here is what each of those entails:
Liposuction – This is a procedure that loosens fatty deposits, after which they are sucked out of the body by a vacuum-like tube. This is the best option for those who are already in relatively good shape but who have a few problem areas that are resistant to diet and exercise. Most often, surgeons are asked to remove fat from the thighs, abdomen, and buttocks.
Tummy Tuck – This is also called an Abdominoplasty and involves removing excess fat and skin in the abdomen as well as tightening the stomach muscles. The result is a flatter, stronger core.
Breast Reduction – This procedure is formerly known as Mamoplasty. The surgeon makes a small incision under the breast or around the nipple and pulls out unwanted breast fat and removes the remaining excess skin after repositioning the nipples. This can be very beneficial for those who have experienced back problems due to extremely large breasts.
Eyelid Surgery – This procedure is designed to create younger, fresher look around the eyes by reducing bags or puffiness, or by removing excess skin on the upper eyelids.
Nose Jobs – Plastic surgeons call this Rhinoplasty and many are skilled in changing the look of an African American nose so that it is more aesthetically pleasing but still has a distinctly “black” appearance. It involves removing bone or cartilage as desired.
Buttock Augmentation – This is one of the fastest growing procedures performed among African Americans. Also called a “butt lift”, a buttock augmentation is performed by taking fat from another part of the body and injected it into the buttocks. The result is a shapelier derriere.