New report reveals current trends in plastic surgery

Robin Wulffson MD's picture
plastic surgery, cosmetic surgery, reconstructive surgery, facelift, Botox
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Alexandria, VA - Traditionally, a common source of a referral to a doctor came from a trusted friend or relative; however, according to a new survey, more patients are relying on social media when they are seeking out a physician. The survey was released January 19 by the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (AAFPRS). It reported that a whopping 43% of patients receive most of their information about plastic surgery from social media, an increase from 29% in 2010. During the same period, the percentage of patients who obtain information on plastic surgery from friends fell to 48%, down from 63% in 2010. The majority of surgeons surveyed also reported 70% of their patients request procedures by describing the area of concern rather than requesting a specific product or procedure by name.

Non-surgical procedures performed by the Academy’s surgeons in 2011 remained steady; however, they continued to outnumber the amount of surgical procedures performed. The survey results also found that 63% of procedures performed were cosmetic procedures; the remainder was reconstructive procedures.

Reversing a trend in past years, the average costs of both surgical and non-surgical procedures decreased in 2011. For surgical procedures performed by Academy members, only otoplasty (ear plastic surgery) and implants increased in cost while non-surgical procedures such as chemical peels increased only minimally on the average. With the exception of rhinoplasty (“nose job”), the majority of procedures, both surgical and non-surgical, were performed on patients between the ages of 35 and 60.

The most common non-surgical procedures in 2011 were Botox injections and hyaluronic acid injections; in addition, the number of poly-l-lactic acid injections and fat injections increased slightly. Rhinoplasties, skin resurfacings, blepharoplasties (eyelid surgery), and facelifts were the most common surgical procedures.

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For the third consecutive year, women outranked men in every category for both surgical and non-surgical procedures with the exception of hair transplants. Also patient age was a factor in surgery selection. Women under the age of 35 selected less invasive procedures; however, the numbers for some procedures decreased from the previous year. The most common non-surgical procedures for women under age 35 were Botox injections (64%, down one percent from 65% in 2010), hyaluronic acid injections (55%), chemical peels (24%) and microdermabrasion (15%).

Overall, facelifts, blepharoplasty, ablative skin resurfacing, rhinoplasty and lip augmentation were the most common surgical procedures performed on women; Botox, hyaluronic acid injections, and microdermabrasion were the most common non-surgical procedures in women. Women between the ages of 35 and 60 most commonly underwent blepharoplasty, Botox, brow lifts, facelifts, filler injections and chemical peels. However, the average number of those procedures decreased between 1-8% from 2010. Chemical peels decreased 8% while facelifts and browlifts both decreased 6%.

Rhinoplasty continued to be the most common surgical procedure performed on both women and men under the age of 35. Both men and women between the ages of 22 and 34 comprised the most of all age groups; the average percentage of rhinoplasties increased 2% for this age group compared to the previous year.

In addition to rhinoplasty, the most common surgical procedures for men were revision surgeries, hair transplants and blepharoplasties. Botox, hyaluronic acid injections, microdermabrasion and calcium hydroxyapetite were the most common non-surgical procedures performed. For men under 35, otoplasty and chin augmentation were the most performed surgical procedures after rhinoplasty.

While more patients appear to be obtaining their plastic surgery information from social media, only 14% of surgeons in 2011 experienced an increase in requests for “celebrity procedures” such as Angelina Jolie’s lips. Surgeons also reported that patients are split in their concern regarding the results and cost when making the decision to undergo facial plastic surgery.

Reference: American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery

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