Ethnic Plastic Surgery

As the demographics of America rapidly shift to a more multicultural population, so too have the trends in ethnic plastic surgery.

According to data from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, 2010 saw an increase of 243 percent over 2000 for patients seeking ethnic plastic surgery. That same year 25 percent of patients seeking ethnic plastic surgery were of Asian, Latino or African-American descent, surpassing the total percentage of men seeking survey.

Patients seeking ethnic plastic surgery have unique goals, facial features, and skin types that deserve extra consideration. Many are interested in improving their appearance while maintaining their unique ethnic character. For example, African American patients may seek a more balanced nose, but would never want a European-looking nose.  Asian patients often desire a less rounded face but want to preserve their delicate Asian features. Merely applying European “beauty standards” to patients of unique ethnicity would produce unbalanced, unacceptable results.

Dr. Shaw is a double board certified facial plastic surgeon and uniquely qualified to understand the subtleties of the ethnic face. Dr. Shaw also has extensive experience in treating patients seeking ethnic plastic surgery. Take look at our before and after gallery, and notice a large amount of racial diversity as compared to other local plastic surgeon’s galleries.

Special considerations in Ethnic Plastic Surgery

Skin Pigment

Different ethnicities have differing amounts of melanin in their skin. Melanin is the pigment that gives our skin its color. Patients with more melanin in their skin are at an increased risk of pigmentation changes after having a procedure done. These changes can be either a lightening of the skin, known as hypopigmentation, or a darkening of the skin, known as hyperpigmentation. Fortunately, these complications are rare.

Dr. Shaw uses a new technology known as the SkinTel reader to exactly measure the amount of melanin in a patient’s skin. Using this data, Dr. Shaw can confidently counsel ethnic plastic surgery patients on how to avoid or treat hypo or hyperpigmentation.


Patients of darker skin tones are at an increased risk of adverse scarring. Hypertrophic scars are scars that enlarge after a procedure but do not become larger than the border of the original scar. Keloid scars continue to enlarge outside of the borders of the original scar.

Fortunately, these types of scars are not common across all patients of color, but they are very important to consider for all ethnic plastic surgery patients.

The most common places where keloid scars form is on the ears, the chest, the jawline and the shoulder. Interestingly, they are almost never seen on the nose or along the midline of the face.

Risk factors for hypertrophic or keloid scars include:

  • a family history of adverse scarring
  • a personal history of keloids or healing problems
  • age range of 12-50

Dr. Shaw has dedicated a part of his plastic surgery practice to helping patients with hypertrophic and keloid scarring via his Center for Scar Solutions.

Click for more information on scars.

Ethnic plastic surgery procedures

Ethnic Rhinoplasty

The most commonly requested surgical procedure requested by ethnic patients is rhinoplasty. Many people seek a nose that is in balance and harmony with the rest of their facial features while preserving their unique racial character.

Ethnic NonSurgical Rhinoplasty

For patients who do not want to undergo a surgical procedure or want a quick improvement in their nose, a non-surgical rhinoplasty is an excellent option.

Chemical Peel in Richmond, VA 

Botox, laser facials, and dermal fillers can all help ethnic patients rejuvenate their face to give a natural, refreshed appearance.