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Despite Recession, Elective Cosmetic Procedures Only Down 2%

By Denise Reynolds

The American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery (AACS), an organization of cosmetic surgeons in the American Medical Association, and the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery announced that cosmetic surgeries and treatments were down about 2% over the past year.  That being said, still over 17 million Americans elected to have beautifying procedures in 2009, paying almost $21 billion in total.

Mark Berman, MD, president of the AACS said, “As the economy recovers slowly but surely, we are seeing patients come back and feel better about doing some things for themselves that maybe they’d been putting off for a while.”

Nearly half of the procedures were performed on men and women between the ages of 35 and 50.  Those 51 to 64 represented about a quarter of the cosmetic surgery total.

The most popular procedure was breast augmentation, followed by liposuction.  About 312,000 breast surgeries and 284,000 liposuction procedures were performed.  Although popular, the number of surgeries performed fell 12 to 17% since 2008.

The procedure with the greatest one-year increase was a cosmetic nose job.  Rhinoplasty increased 74% from 12,460 procedures in 2008 to 21,730 in 2009.

Facelifts were also on the rise – 44% from 2008.  Other less invasive facial procedures were also in demand, such as laser resurfacing, chemical peels, and fillers.  Particularly popular were Botox injections, followed by hyaluronic acid treatment, laser hair removal, and microdermabrasion.

In the UK, the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) reported that 2009 saw many British women (and men) undergo breast augmentation.  Women wanted breast enlargement, while reduction was increasingly popular among men.  Men in the UK were also likely to have nose jobs and eyelid lifts.