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New Survey Reveals 'The Lipstick Effect' With Non-Invasive Facial Plastic Surgery Procedures

Annual Survey of the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Finds Consumers Spending More on Less Invasive and Less Expensive Procedures

NEW YORK, March 16 /PRNewswire/ -- According to the new annual survey by the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (AAFPRS), approximately 80 percent of board certified facial plastic surgeons reported an increase in non-invasive cosmetic procedures within the past year among consumers looking to delay the effects of aging and more costly surgeries. The most requested non-invasive procedures included Botox (96 percent); dermal fillers (93 percent), such as hyaluronic acid; and ablative skin resurfacing treatments (92 percent), such as dermabrasion and intense pulse laser (IPL) treatments.

In 2008, the plastic surgery business was not immune to the economic and credit crises, and physicians across the country reported declines in overall cosmetic procedures. However, even in tough times, the recent survey found that both men and women spent money on non-invasive procedures to look and feel refreshed, personally and/or professionally. According to this year's report, three out of four physicians said they treated patients who requested facial plastic surgery to stay competitive in the workplace. Other noteworthy trends included men requesting cosmetic surgery to be more attractive to their partners (43 percent), couples undergoing facial plastic surgery procedures together (41 percent), and women seeking facial plastic surgery to look and feel their best for their wedding day (39 percent).

"In challenging economic times, patients want value when it comes to investing in their health and the appearance of their face," said Donn Chatham, MD, President of the AAFPRS. "Value does not mean cheap, it means quality gained for the investment."

Ethnic Enhancement

In 2008, facial plastic surgeons reported rhinoplasty (nasal surgery) as the most popular procedure requested by African-American (75 percent) and Hispanic (50 percent) patients. Blepharoplasty, or eyelid surgery, was the most requested treatment by Asian-American patients (66 percent), and facelifts were the most popular surgical procedure among Caucasian patients (88 percent).

Ethnic facial plastic surgery is on the rise as 83 percent of physicians surveyed said facial plastic surgery will increase among these populations. This growth is likely to be attributed to an increased knowledge of cosmetic procedures, minority specialists whom ethnic patients regard as more attuned to their needs, and a greater acceptance of cosmetic surgery as a whole.

A Woman's Point of View

Women continue to be the most likely candidates for facial plastic surgery. In 2008, nearly 80 percent of patients seeking facial plastic surgery were female. The most requested procedure among women was blepharoplasty, or eyelid surgery, which includes surgery of the upper eyelids, lower eyelids or both. This procedure was in high demand for ladies looking to rejuvenate the appearance of the eye area and eliminate drooping and puffiness in the lid. Facelifts and rhinoplasty (nasal surgery) were tied as the second most popular treatments and Botox took the bronze as the third most requested procedure among women.

Cosmetic procedures have for the most part been dominated by older women trying to turn back time, however, a growing number of younger women are visiting physicians' offices specifically for Botox. According to this year's survey, 60 percent of facial plastic surgeons treated women under the age of 35 for the injectable. According to physicians, younger women are seeking this treatment to improve their youthful appearance and prevent deeper wrinkles from appearing later in life. On a similar note, more than one-third of the physicians polled had performed surgery on teenagers within the past year.

Appearance Matters to Men Too

With more men staying in the workforce longer, this year's survey revealed that men accounted for approximately 16 percent of all facial plastic surgery consultations and treatments (surgical and non-surgical), and 21 percent of all patients seen for multiple procedures at the same time or during the course of the same year. Multiple procedures may be attributed to regular cosmetic injections, Botox and laser rejuvenation, all of which require ongoing treatments and follow-up care.

News and Trends in Facial Plastic Surgery

In 2008, more than 40 percent of facial plastic surgeons treated patients who suffered complications from surgeries gone awry that had been performed abroad. Another alarming finding revealed 74 percent of facial plastic surgeons were aware of medical directors (physicians) of medispa businesses who were not onsite performing, or even overseeing, the medical treatments in the U.S. The most commonly reported complications associated with non-physician administration of injectable fillers and/or lasers included burns, asymmetrical results or misplaced fillers, and granulomas, clumping which occurs when particles form lumps that can be seen and felt beneath the skin.

During the economy's downturn, there are countless non-specialists marketing their services and treatments at a lower cost or rate, or providing misinformation. More than half of all surgeons surveyed found advertising associated with specific injectable fillers, lasers and/or other cosmetic treatments to be deceptive. Many non-medical personnel have entered the arena of cosmetic treatments, and the buyer needs to beware. If an advertisement for a cosmetic procedure appears to be too good to be true, it may be. The AAFPRS urges all patients to be careful before proceeding with any significantly discounted cosmetic procedures.

According to Dr. Chatham, "Even though the economy is in dire straits, and everyone is looking for the best 'deal,' patients need to be well-informed consumers who prefer quality over quantity when researching facial procedures, invasive and non-invasive alike. The emphasis must be on selecting a qualified plastic surgeon with expertise in the face, head and neck areas, rather than who is offering the best deals in your area. For facial procedures, it is crucial to trust your face to a facial plastic surgeon."

These trends highlight the importance of outreach to educate patients about the risks and benefits of facial plastic surgery. The AAFPRS urges all patients interested in facial cosmetic procedures to find a surgeon who is board certified in the field or area of facial plastic surgery. To find a board certified facial plastic surgeon in your area, please visit

With more and more people wanting to look younger, feel better and be more active in their medical treatment, 84 percent of surgeons confirmed patients are more educated now about facial plastic surgery than ever before. Patients are doing their homework and researching different physicians to find the best one for their personal needs. Awareness of various procedures, physicians, results and recovery time play an important role in the decision-making process.

A Look Ahead

Surgeons say the future of facial plastic surgery is bright for both physicians and consumers. The popularity of cosmetic fillers will continue to grow as novel treatments (i.e. Reloxin) and technologies are introduced into the market. From a business perspective, more than 70 percent of surgeons said more physicians will incorporate wellness and lifestyle techniques into their offerings for patients. In addition, more than half of all surgeons surveyed said the reality television craze is likely to subside and play less of a role in the facial plastic surgery market.

The AAFPRS reminds patients and professionals that when a patient requests a facial plastic surgery procedure, and entrusts their face to that physician, that it is in their best interests to seek surgeons who are qualified, trained and experienced in performing those procedures.

About the AAFPRS

The AAFPRS is the world's largest association of facial plastic and reconstructive surgeons with more than 2,700 members - whose cosmetic and reconstructive surgery focuses on the face, head and neck. The AAFPRS fellows are board certified and subscribe to a code of ethics. In addition, the AAFPRS provides consumers with free information and brochures and a list of qualified facial plastic surgeons in any area by visiting the AAFPRS Web site,

SOURCE American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
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