A Sign of Economic Recovery? Plastic Surgery Is on the Rise Again

Sign of a better economy? Consumers are spending more on plastic surgery again.Despite high unemployment and a dismal economy, there is one splurge Americans can't seem to give up: plastic surgery.

According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), cosmetic procedures climbed 5% in 2010, totaling 13.1 million procedures. More than 5.3 million reconstructive plastic surgery procedures were performed in 2010, up 2% from 2009."Now that the economy is on the mend and people are doing somewhat better financially, there's pent-up demand for cosmetic procedures," ASPS President Phillip Haeck, MD, told WalletPop. "We're seeing growth in popular cosmetic surgical procedurs that haven't experienced growth since before the recession; for example, facelifts rose 9 percent in 2010. As the economy improves, consumers are more willing to make a financial investment in their appearance."

Dr. Anthony Youn, a board-certified plastic surgeon in Michigan, agrees, telling WalletPop that he's seen an uptick in his practice in part because patients "are opting for multiple procedures since their financial situation has improved. In 2009, most patients could afford one procedure, for example, a tummy tuck. Now, that same person may opt for a tummy tuck and a breast lift."

The top cosmetic surgical procedure is still breast augmentation, with a total of 296,000 procedures, up 2% from 2009. Rounding out the top five were nose reshaping, eyelid surgery, liposuction and tummy tucks.

However, minimally-invasive cosmetic procedures outpaced surgical procedures. Injections of Botox and its competitor, Dysport, jumped 12% from 2009, totaling 5,379,360. Other popular minimally-invasive procedures include soft-tissue fillers like Radisse and fat, chemical peels, laser-hair removal and microdermabrasion.

Dr. Andrew Jacono, a board-certified facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon in New York, told WalletPop that he's not surprised by the increased popularity of minimally invasive procedures. "Many patients who are looking for invasive procedures are still choosing to take the non-invasive route to minimize expenses, while still achieving a younger look," he added.
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