La Jolla Light
By Stuart B. Kincaid, MD, FACS
In past columns, we have discussed a number of national trends in plastic surgery. But on a more local level, every city exhibits a tendency toward different types of plastic surgery – oftentimes as a direct result of the diverse ethnic groups represented within the local community. A recent piece for the New York Times examines the ethnic differences that arise among New York’s plastic surgery patients, ranging from Latina to Lebanese, Korean to Egyptian to Iranian. Here in San Diego, we see an equally diverse population represented among plastic surgery patients; and from Hispanic, Latino and Chaldean patients to Persians, Lebanese, Japanese, Chinese, Indian, Native American, Filipino, Korean and African-American patients, different cultural influences, ethnic features and genetic factors combine to dictate a unique plastic surgery approach.
According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, over 3.2 million non-Caucasian patients underwent plastic surgery in 2010 – a figure signifying a 243% increase since 2000. In the same year, 25% of all plastic surgery patients nationwide were Asian, Hispanic or African-American. In light of these numbers, it is clear that plastic surgery has become an incredibly diverse practice – and one in which an in-depth understanding of different ethnic groups’ skin types, physical features and potential risks and complications is critical to providing safe, effective and natural-looking plastic surgery.
People of different ethnic groups have a wide range of overall facial and physical proportions and profiles, as well as distinctive features such as the nose and chin and characteristic proportions including the size of the torso, breasts and hips. The art and science of a well-trained plastic surgeon is to have an understanding of these diverse features and the cultural differences between each group in order to best meet the needs of each and every patient and achieve the best natural results. The surgeon must recognize that there cannot be a single “standard of beauty.” Instead, he must be experienced working with patients of different ethnic backgrounds and know how to maintain proportion, balance and moderation relative to each and every individual’s physique.
Choosing the right plastic surgeon: pick a professional with experience performing ethnic plastic surgery
As a long-time plastic surgeon with 28 years of experience working with a wide variety of patients from myriad ethnic backgrounds, I take pride in offering plastic surgery services tailored to meet the needs, aesthetics and health concerns of San Diego’s many different cultural communities. I understand and respect the fact that, regardless of ethnicity, patients wish to refresh and rejuvenate their bodies to enhance their appearance, reduce signs of aging and look their best – all while maintaining their ethnic identity. My ability to achieve natural-looking, balanced and beautiful results has won me patients from all over Southern California, from Latino plastic surgery patients to Chaldeans and Persians, from African Americans and Filipinos to Jewish, Native American and Vietnamese patients. And during every patient consultation, I discuss potential risk factors – such as adverse scarring in African and Asian patients or pigment irregularities in patients with darker skin tones – to ensure a customized approach and the best possible results.