Botox as economic indicator
The number of plastic surgeries and other enhancements is on the rise. The so-called 'vanity indicator' is looking good for the economy.
Plastic surgeons are happily reporting a 5% increase in procedures for the second year in the row. Since most procedures are elective -- deeper cleavage not being considered essential for good health -- and paid for out-of-pocket, not by insurance, it seems we're ready to spend more on feeling more confident about our looks.
The "vanity indicator" is evident in a new report by the the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, which counted more than 13.8 million cosmetic procedures in 2011 at a total cost of $10.4 billion -- "more than the gross domestic product of nations such as Chad, Liechtenstein and Suriname," says The Huffington Post. (Post continues below video.)
The report also indicates that our tastes in enhancements are undergoing a change. The Los Angeles Times reports:
Women in recent years have been trending toward minimally invasive cosmetic treatments such as Botox and Restalyne, but the fastest-growing cosmetic procedures for men are surgical. Liposuction tops the list of most common cosmetic surgical procedures performed on men, followed by rhinoplasty, eyelid surgery, male breast reduction and face-lifts.
In fact, injections of Botox and Dysport numbered 5.67 million (up 5%), and "soft tissue fillers" for fuller lips and fewer lines totaled 1.89 million, a 7% increase. The number of chemical peels -- 1.11 million -- dropped slightly from the previous year, while laser hair removals shot up 15%, to 1.07 million.
Only 1.58 million of the procedures involved surgery. Here's how the most popular surgical procedures rank:
- Breast implants, 307,180, up 4% from 2010.
- Nose jobs, 243,772, a 3% drop. Women accounted for 75% of them.
- Liposuction, 204,702, up 1%. Women dominated here too, at 89%.
- Eyelid surgery, 204,702, a 6% drop. Fifteen percent were done on men.
- Face-lifts, 119,000, up 5%. Nine percent were men.
Also, it's clear from the report that there aren't many body parts that can't be "improved" upon.
Equally popular among women and men is the chin enhancement or implant. Fox News said: "A total of 10,593 men had the operation done in 2011, a 76% increase over the prior year, and 10,087 women had the procedure, a 66% rise -- for a combined total of 71%."
Also from the report:
- Breast reduction in men totaled 19,776, an 8% increase.
- Pectoral implants for men numbered 317, up 43%.
- Buttock lifts, 4,546, up 38% from 2010 and 235% from 2000. Women were the beneficiaries in 93% of cases.
- Upper arm lifts, 14,998, slightly less than the previous year but 4,337% more than in 2000.
- Lower body lifts, 7,615, a 21% decline from the previous year but a whopping 3,579% increase since 2000.
- Hair transplants, 15,754, a 17% decline from last year and a 65% drop since 2000. Men accounted for 11,067. (Laser hair removal, a minimally invasive procedure, shot up 13% among men to 185,577.)
A word to the wise: If you go this route, make sure you pick a qualified professional. We've all read accounts of plastic surgeries gone awry.
Also, be careful what you wish for, the Los Angeles Times says. Some celebrities, including Heidi Montag, have expressed regret about their multiple procedures. The Times says:
A poorly done cosmetic procedure may manifest as a look one sees a lot in Los Angeles: that kind of overly puffy, trout-mouthed, robot-like-glaze of a Botox- and filler-injected face replete with frozen forehead and static smile lines.
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