There's no big well of resistance to medical techniques that alter appearances. So people are going to be much more attractive in the future - even before they start genetically engineering their offspring. Most women and a substantial fraction of men are sufficiently dissatisfied with their appearances to consider plastic surgery.
Most women, and large numbers of men, are interested in having cosmetic surgery, UCLA scientists report in the October issue of the Journal of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.
Forty-eight percent of women surveyed said they would be interested in cosmetic surgery, liposuction or both, and another 23 percent said they would possibly be interested.
Among men, 23 percent said they would be interested in surgery, with 17 percent expressing possible interest.
Celebrity use of plastic surgery and TV shows like Dr. 90210 have probably played a big role in bringing about public acceptance of plastic surgery. Women are ready to go under the knife.
"Interest in cosmetic surgery is far more widespread than we had anticipated," said David Frederick, a UCLA psychology graduate student and lead author of the study. "The majority of women expressed some interest in cosmetic surgery, and more than one-third of men expressed some degree of interest, which I found really surprising. We know there is tremendous pressure for women to be thin and have a certain appearance and for men to be fit and muscular, but I would not have guessed that so many people would be interested in surgical body alteration."
In addition, 21 percent of women and 11 percent of men described themselves as unattractive, and 31 percent of women and 16 percent of men reported feeling so uncomfortable in a swimsuit that they avoid wearing one in public, Frederick and his colleagues reported.
The cost of appearance alteration will drop with the development of more automated means to doing surgery. Plus, cell therapies and gene therapies will eventually cut costs even further and reduce the pain and risk of appearance enhancement. The lower costs, lower risks, and lower pain will lead many more people to get their appearances altered.
Over 3% of the American population had cosmetic surgery in 2006.
According to the American Association of Plastic Surgeons, nearly 11 million cosmetic surgery procedures were performed in 2006 — a 48 percent increase from 2000. Roughly 90 percent of cosmetic surgeries in 2004 were performed on women.
Resculpting of bodies will also become more common place as a side effect of the development of rejuvenation therapies. Gene therapy and cell therapy will be developed for rejuvenation. But both types of therapy will allow people to permanently change their hair color, skin color, and other aspects of appearances that are hard or impossible to permanently alter now. Gene therapy and cell therapy will make alterations much easier as well. People who (not irrationally) fear surgery will some day be able to alter their appearances without surgery. As biotechnological advances enable a larger assortment of modifications the appeal of appearance enhancement will grow. Some day natural appearances will become the exception as most people choose to have their appearances altered.