Birmingham, AL -- Stories about young women having excessive plastic surgery are enough to keep any parent up at night. However, according to a study published in the March issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, the official medical journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), only 5% of college-age women have actually had cosmetic surgery. Despite the low percentage of young women who cosmetic procedures, many of the students had a favorable attitude toward cosmetic surgery.
"There is a common belief among the public that a large percentage of young adults and teens are having cosmetic surgery," said ASPS President Scott Spear, M.D. "This study shows that, while many college-age women see cosmetic surgery as an acceptable thing to do, many have not had a procedure."
The study surveyed 559 college-age women - ages 17 to 24, at six universities. Among the 5% of females studied who had cosmetic surgery, chemical peel was the most common procedure, followed by breast augmentation, nasal reshaping and breast reduction.
"The study found the more a young woman cares about her physical appearance, the more likely she will view cosmetic surgery positively," said David Sarwer, Ph.D., Associate Professor at the Center for Human Appearance, University of Pennsylvania, and lead author of study.
More than 60% of the study participants said they could envision having at least one procedure in their lifetime. More than two-thirds of the women reported knowing someone who had cosmetic surgery and approximately one-third indicated that a family member had undergone surgery.
Despite concerns about young people's motivations for having cosmetic surgery, the study revealed that only 2.5% of those studied screened positive for body dimorphic disorder (BDD), or a preoccupation with a slight or imagined defect in appearance. This rate is consistent with the predicted rate of the disorder among the general population.