I recently blogged about living with my big ethnic nose for 41 years at Smart Beauty Guide and while I have chosen not to have surgery to alter my features and make them less “ethnic” I wondered–does undergoing plastic surgery to change your features mean you are insulting your culture?
In this day and age while I think beauty and our society’s definition of it crosses all cultural and ethnic groups– and in fact certain features once considered ethnic and now coveted by the masses-I think there are still some people who want to look more average and not stand out or have an unusual feature that is characteristic of an ethnic group.
So what does a plastic surgeon do when a person comes in with some particular racial trait and wants to change it to look more average or dare I say American? And what is the role of the plastic surgeon in regard to this very polarizing topic? Dr. Clyde Ishii of Ishii plastic surgery offers his insight into the pros and cons of ridding oneself of their ethnic beauty.
According to Dr. Clyde Ishii of Ishii plastic surgery Sometimes, plastic surgery to change your appearance can be culturally sensitive. Therefore, most patients desire to improve their appearance while still maintaining their ethnicity. For example, many women (and some men) in Asia seek Asian blepharoplasty (a cosmetic surgical procedure that removes fat deposits, excess tissue, or muscle from the eyelids to improve the appearance of the eyes).. It would be wrong to simply do a western type of blepharoplasty with a high supratarsal fold as a result. This would be considered gaudy by Asian standards. Instead, most Asians desire a more subtle appearance with a smaller fold.
Married my Sugar Daddy: What is your feeling about preserving a person’s ethnicity when doing a plastic surgery procedure?
The key is the patient consultation. The surgeon must have a clear understanding of the patient’s desires. Sometimes, language issues may be a barrier. I usually show patients before and after images of patients who have undergone the same procedure to make sure we’re talking about the same kind of result. Patients may also bring in images of their friends or from magazines/internet.
Married my Sugar Daddy: Can you recall a specific procedure where you intentionally preserved a feature to preserve a person’s culture or ethnicity?
Dr. Clyde Ishii: I once did rhinoplasty on a lady with a long nose, droopy tip, and dorsal hump. I thought she would be happy if I shortened her nose, raised the tip, and removed the hump. However, in talking with her preoperatively, she stated that she wanted to keep the dorsal hump since her father had a similar hump. Therefore I only shortened her nose and raised the tip. It would have been a disaster if I had not communicated well with her prior to surgery.
Married my Sugar Daddy: Have you performed procedures which changed or decreased the ethnic traits in a person to look less ethnic?
Dr. Clyde Ishii: Yes, many Asians have very narrow palpebral fissures (slit-like eyes). If they desire surgery can be done to “open up” their eyes by creating a taller supra tarsal fold while still maintaining their ethnicity.
Married my Sugar Daddy: What do you think of terms like “nice caucasion features”, westernize, and ethnic rhinoplasty.
Dr. Clyde Ishii: Western culture has greatly influenced the desired appearance of people in other parts of the world. One needs to understand the patient’s desires, applied anatomy, and limits of what is surgically possible. For instance, most Asian noses have a low nasal bridge, lack tip projection, and have a wide nostril base. We can raise the nasal bridge, improve the tip projection, and narrow the nostril base but there are limits since the underlying nasal skeleton is different in Asians (their nasal bones are smaller, their cartilages are flimsier, and their skin is thicker). Therefore Asian patients undergoing rhinoplasty must have realistic expectations.
Married my Sugar Daddy: What are the most common procedures in African Americans, Asian Americans, Hispanic Americans?
Dr. Clyde Ishii: African Americans: ethnic rhinoplasty, lip reduction, breast reduction
Asian Americans: Asian blepharoplasty, rhinoplasty
Hispanic Americans: ethnic rhinoplasty
Check out more of my blog posts about all things cosmetic surgery at Smart Beauty Guide!