Reply: Redefining the Ideal Buttocks

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In our original work, “Redefining the Ideal Buttocks: A Population Analysis,” buttock images of varying proportions were created, and both female and male population preferences on buttock aesthetic proportions were surveyed.1 This study was based in the United States, which resulted in a highly disproportionate number of Caucasian respondents in comparison with those of other ethnicities. Future studies recruiting the assistance of international plastic surgery experts to broaden the respondent demographics and obtain more culture-specific findings will help in evaluating any differences in preferences between different ethnicities. This can guide the planning process for gluteoplasty procedures, but it is important to keep cultural and geographic preferences in mind in addition to patient preferences when evaluating a patient for buttock enhancement. For example, a patient of Chinese descent living in the United States may have a Caucasian-influenced preference, in contrast to someone living in China.
With exposure to social media unifying different countries and potentially diminishing any strong cultural preferences, we hypothesize that there would be a global preference for larger, more voluptuous contour proportions throughout all ethnicities. Serial surveys conducted every decade may yield interesting results to see whether there is linear change in these preferences as well. Our data demonstrate an evolution from the previously described aesthetic ideal of a 0.70 waist-to-hip ratio, and this archetype will likely change in the coming years. Furthermore, future studies analyzing patient-reported outcomes for different gluteoplasty procedures can elucidate whether there is a correlation with aesthetic ideals and can better assay long-term outcomes and satisfaction rates.
As aesthetic paradigms evolve and shift quite dramatically over time, it is important to consider the long-term effects of the surgical techniques we choose on our patients. Long-term effects of gravity on tissue, age-related changes, and consideration of the need for future operations are all important factors in decision-making. Patient safety is undoubtedly a plastic surgeon’s number one priority. We must keep in mind that despite our patient’s preferences and ideals of beauty, it is our duty to only offer surgical procedures that benefit the patient’s quality of life and heavily outweigh the potential risk profile.
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