The appearance of patients seeking cosmetic surgery is changing to reflect our multicultural society. Integral to addressing the desires of a cross-cultural patient population is an understanding of one's perception of race, ethnicity, and culture. Race is an objective description, whereas ethnicity is a subjective description of a person's social group. Culture, on the other hand, defines the behaviors, beliefs, and values of a group. How a person perceives their place within these groups affects his or her self-image and approach to cosmetic surgery. These cultural perceptions are important, as patients of Asian, Hispanic, and African descent make up the fastest growing groups that desire cosmetic surgery. Factors contributing to this trend include population growth, especially within multicultural communities, improvements in social status, and increasing disposable income, combined with a positive perception of cosmetic surgery. Surgical philosophies have also changed, shifting from the perspective of racial transformation, defined as the use of a common set of surgical goals for all ethnicities, toward a view of racial preservation, with the goal of preserving one's racial and ethnic features.
Thieme Medical Publishers.