Jun 20

Who is doing Facial Plastic Surgery?

There was an interesting article in the New York Times yesterday by Natasha Singer about the effect of the economic slump on Plastic Surgery. After all, you would think, with a “luxury item” like plastic surgery, how can it not be tied to the economic cycle?

And, sure enough, when Ms. Singer called around to all of the “top Plastic Surgeons” in major cities (if being on TV makes you one of the top plastic surgeons), the wait list to see the surgeon or to book a surgery date was shorter than it has been for a long time. This was the main thrust of the article.

Worse yet, according to the Times, are the recent 2007 statistics which supposedly show that actual facial surgical procedure numbers are down everywhere in favor of non-surgical procedures like Botox or dermal fillers because, so the argument goes, people just can’t afford surgery.

Funny thing is these stats are compiled by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, which represents only General Plastic Surgeons in the US. So their numbers show a 64% increase in breast augmentation and a whopping 137% increase in tummy tucks since 2000, yet there were double digit declines for facial plastic procedures being done by general plastic surgeons.

HOW DO WE EXPLAIN THAT?

Well, that is the most interesting thing about the article. You just have to read carefully because they only briefly touched on it.

The fact is that people aren’t having body surgery in record numbers and simply avoiding facial surgery. Not at all. Facial plastic procedures are keeping pace, only it’s not the General Plastic Surgeons who are doing them any more. Facial plastic procedures, including nose jobs (rhinoplasty), facelifts, forehead lifts, and eyelid tightening (blepharoplasty) procedures are simply being done by Facial Plastic Surgeons, not general plastic surgeons.

You need only look at other statistics compiled by the American Academy of Facial Plastic Surgery, our professional organization, to see the other side of the story. According to them, the average number of eyelid lifts performed per surgeon was up 11% over 2 years earlier while forehead lifts were up 29%. To top it off, Facial Plastic Surgeons, on average, each did 79% more facelifts in 2007 over 2005. That’s more than increases in Botox and Fillers combined.

So, facial plastic surgery isn’t going the way of the Dodo. Just the opposite, gains in these procedures are outstripping many of the more publicized non-surgical procedures. Why?? Because they work. And people are coming around to that realization, and they’re also figuring out that super- specialists in the face (facial plastic surgeons) are the ones they trust to work on their faces.

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