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Recession botox

Lifestyle/Technology | A down economy affects cosmetic surgery, but Americans still spend billions

Issue: "O Jerusalem," April 10, 2010

If people had to pay the true cost of medical care, would they change how they use medical services? A recent report from the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) suggests they would. Cosmetic surgery isn't included on most insurance plans. People have to pay out of pocket for all the nips and tucks they receive. And last year many people were still willing to pay to maintain the illusion of youth. People in the United States received almost 10 million surgical and non-surgical cosmetic procedures in 2009, a 147 percent increase since 1997. Surgical procedures increased 50 percent during that time, but non-surgical procedures increased by 231 percent.

Despite the huge increase in procedures since 1997, the Great Recession did have an effect, especially on more expensive surgeries, which decreased 17 percent in 2009 compared to 2008. Non-surgical procedures actually went up 1 percent. Fewer breast augmentations, liposuctions, eyelid surgeries, rhinoplasties (nose jobs), and abdominoplasties (tummy tucks) occurred. Botox injections, hyaluronic acid treatments, laser hair removal, microdermabrasion, and chemical peels remained popular.

Some of the numbers raise eyebrows: Americans spent $10.5 billion on cosmetic procedures during last year when the economy fell apart. The most likely recipient of most procedures? A white woman between the ages of 35 and 50. Two percent of the people receiving treatments were under 18 years old. Popular treatments for the high-school set: laser hair removal, microdermabrasion, rhinoplasty, chemical peels, and Botox!

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Susan Olasky
Susan Olasky

Susan pens book reviews and other articles for WORLD as a senior writer and has authored eight historical novels for children. Susan and her husband Marvin live in Asheville, N.C. Follow Susan on Twitter @susanolasky.

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