Worried a Webcam Adds Five Chins? There's a Plastic Surgery For That

It's grainy. It freezes. It keeps us well connected. But is the video chat causing a new wave of insecurities that are leading to a spike in chin augmentation procedures, also known as chinplants?

Chin augmentation (nickname: chimplants) are the fastest growing plastic surgery trend in all major demographics, says The American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS). Chimplants actually grew by 71 percent in 2011 -- that’s more than breast augmentation, Botox and liposuction combined! 

So, why is everybody suddenly so envious of the Jay Lenos of the world? Videoconferencing. No, seriously. It turns out most webcams do not catch the most “flattering” angle. And, with webcams becoming more and more common in our interactions with people, everybody is suddenly noticing and really worrying about their double chins.

Some women argue it’s all business -- Darrick Antell, MD, a surgeon based in New York who has studied the profiles of “many CEOs,” was quoted in an ASPS press release as saying: "We know that CEOs tend to be tall, attractive, good-looking people. We now know that these people also tend to have a stronger chin. As a result, people subconsciously associate a stronger chin with more authority, self-confidence and trustworthiness."

Others admit it’s more for pleasure -- online dating is competitive and we live in a world where men who check the box for “big handsome man” are only interested in women who check the box for “slender.” It’s a world where a picture taken in the best possible light and angle, and perhaps helped with a little retouching (I know a photographer who offers a 10/10 guarantee -- 10 pounds thinner and 10 years younger), gives way to a possibly jarring videoconference that doesn’t have all of the tools of the fake beauty trade.

Online dating has created a whole new set of body image issues as women struggle to figure out what the difference is between “athletic” and “toned” or “heavy set” and “curvy.” Pictures are faked, altered, or pulled from 20-year-old shoeboxes. First dates take place through the unflattering lens of a webcam. Women are left scrambling for ways to make the most of what they’ve got and that is starting to include chin augmentation surgery. Even though complications include: an implant that shifts, infection, tooth damage, permanent numbness and pain that never goes away.

I swore off plastic surgery forever the day a woman in the locker room at my gym showed me (against my will) liposuction that “didn’t take” on one side of her butt. I think that all butts are inherently beautiful but I can definitely see how you wouldn’t want one cheek that looks 19 years old and one cheek that looks 50. I believe people can do whatever they want with their bodies, but I want to live in a world where all bodies and faces are seen as beautiful and the idea of altering them surgically for purely aesthetic reasons seems as ridiculous as the name chimplants.

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