Factors Associated with Likelihood to Undergo Cosmetic Surgical Procedures Among Young Adults in the United States: A Narrative Review
Introduction/Goals: Over the past decade, cosmetic surgical procedures have become increasingly popular. This trend has been driven by procedural innovations as well as access to Internet and social media. Consequently, patients have been seeking cosmetic surgical procedures at younger ages. In this narrative review, studies assessing attitudes towards cosmetic surgical procedures among college-aged young adults were evaluated. Methods: A search identified 20 studies published from 2002 to 2021 that focused on cosmetic surgical procedures among young adults. Each study used survey-based data to determine attitudes, acceptance, interests, perceptions, and beliefs about cosmetic surgical procedures among college-aged students in the United States. Results: The proportion of college-aged participants who had undergone cosmetic surgical procedures ranged from 1.3% to 6.4% with surveys reporting that between 21 and 43% were interested in procedures in the future. In general, young women were more likely to express interest in cosmetic surgical procedures than young men. Studies consistently demonstrated an inverse relationship between body satisfaction and use of aesthetic procedures among this patient population. Other factors associated with acceptance and approval of cosmetic surgical procedures included importance of appearance to self-worth, concern with social standing and attractiveness, investment in appearance, media influence on body image, and positive attitudes towards celebrities. Exposure to cosmetic surgery advertising was correlated with increased approval of cosmetic surgical procedures, especially the perception that advertising influences "others" more than survey respondents themselves. Conclusion: Interest in cosmetic surgical procedures continues to grow among young adults in the United States. In the future, this cohort is likely to become an increasingly important demographic to target for education, advertising, and research regarding cosmetic surgical procedures.