According to a new Harris Interactive survey, plastic surgery in America shows a rise in interest, but a decline in the number of Americans that actually go through with a desired cosmetic surgery procedure.
The online survey polled 2,148 adults to gauge their interest in plastic surgery. Out of the respondents, more than two-thirds of the people said they would choose to undergo cosmetic surgery if they didn’t have any financial restrictions to do so. These numbers have increased 15 percent since November 2009.
Although has been a significant increase in interest among consumers nationwide, statistics from the Arlington Heights-based American Society of Plastic Surgeons highlights a major decrease in the actual procedures conducted. According to researchers, the drop in cosmetic surgery procedures can be attributed to the economic recession rather than a shift in social attitudes towards plastic surgery.
“The economy is obviously what’s affecting patients who are interested and who are actually going in to get surgery,” said Dr. David Song, chief of plastic surgery at the University of Chicago.
The Harris Interactive survey indicated that there was an increased interest in invasive surgical procedures that tend to require a longer recovery time, which researchers said suggest there is more desire for “big changes, not just minor nips and tucks.”
This cosmetic plastic surgery growing trend isn’t just limited to women, as men, and minorities are continually increasing their interest and follow through with surgeries.
“I think more and more we’re seeing men and we’re seeing ethnic minorities seeking enhancement much more than ever before,” Song said. “I think the social norms are shifting a bit.”
In rough economic times, the desire to stay competitive in the workforce has encouraged men to consider having both surgical and non-surgical cosmetic procedures.
“A lot of people who are unemployed will feel that enhancing their appearance does help give them that edge,” said Song.
Although there are many people that believe cosmetic surgery procedures will help them excel in the workforce, most of these people do not have the financial means to fund elective cosmetic surgery.
“It’s unfortunately like a perfect storm where the interest is high, but the ability to be able to go through with the surgery and the financing options are diminished,” Song said.
According to Dr. Loren Schechter, president of the Illinois Society of Plastic Surgeons, all age groups and genders are seeking plastic surgeons for a variety of cosmetic procedures. In his practice, he said breast augmentation and liposuction is most popular among patients in their 20s. Once women have children, tummy tucks and breast lifts are more common. Facial procedures are most popular among patients in their 50s and 60s.
Schechter’s experience in his own practice mirrors the survey’s results. If money wasn’t an issue, women aged 35 to 44 expressed the greatest interest in tummy tucks, breast lifts and liposuction. These procedures, often referred to as “Mommy Makeovers,” cost an average of $12,482, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.
Even with the downturn in the economy, Song and Schechter have both said that they have not lowered their prices for various cosmetic surgery procedures.
“We have maintained our price points and our philosophy has been that no one should have to struggle to have cosmetic surgery and if the timing is not right for them, then they should wait,” Schechter said. “I wouldn’t recommend anyone to undergo a cosmetic procedure when finances are difficult.”