New York -- The rate of cosmetic procedures on racial and ethnic minorities is on the rise, accounting for 20 percent of all procedures performed in 2004, according to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS). This represents an increase from 14 percent in 2000.
Most of these procedures were performed on Hispanics, followed by blacks, Asians and then other non-Caucasians. According to Julius Few, M.D., F.A.C.S., assistant professor at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, many ethnic patients are beginning to realize that they can undergo plastic surgery without feeling like they are trying to change their ethnicity. Dr. Few cites improved treatment of scarring among darker-skinned patients.
Ranato Saltz, M.D., of Salt Lake City, Utah, explains that treatment of ethnic skin involves knowing more than technical aspects of treatment; physicians need to understand how concepts of beauty differ in minority populations -- and they need to adjust their procedures accordingly.
"One size does not fit all -- not only are techniques different for certain minority populations but the concept of what is beautiful is as well," Dr. Saltz says.
Kristoffer Ning Chang, M.D., an assistant clinical professor of plastic surgery at the University of California, San Francisco, and Michael McGuire, M.D., a plastic surgeon practicing in Los Angeles, agree. A very broad patient base can be obtained for physicians who take measures to be more welcoming and open to ethnic populations and who understand and can meet their needs.
The ASAPS statistics reveal that racial and ethnic minorities represent a significant -- and growing -- population. Accommodating the needs of these various groups is necessary to ensuring their comfort with and acceptance of cosmetic procedures.