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Plastic Surgeons Stay Busy in Recession
Date:7/31/2009

Tight job market fuels interest in cheaper, less-invasive procedures, survey shows

FRIDAY, July 31 (HealthDay News) -- Earlier this year, Janice Axelrod, an insurance broker in Chicago, visited a plastic surgeon for a "makeover" -- a chemical peel and injections of abdominal fat under her eyes, around her lips and at the corners of her mouth.

Axelrod's decision was not motivated by concern she might lose her competitive edge in a tightening job market. "I would have done it recession or no recession," she said. "It was about my confidence and how I felt seeing clients."

But many other women see such cosmetic procedures as "employment insurance" in these tough times. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons reported that nearly 3.5 million women in the workforce (3 percent) have already undergone a cosmetic procedure as an investment in their careers.

"Many people are going out on the job market and want touch-ups," confirmed Dr. Seth Thaller, professor and chief of plastic surgery at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine in Florida. "I have a patient coming in next week who works. Her competition is younger, and she's getting plastic surgery to be more competitive in the market."

According to the ASPS, Botox procedures, which are used to treat moderate to severe frown lines, were up 8 percent in 2008 versus 2007; use of hyaluronic acid fillers for wrinkles and folds increased 6 percent, and chemical peels were up 2 percent.

Total cosmetic procedures and minimally invasive cosmetic procedures have increased since 2007 (3 percent and 5 percent, respectively), while more involved surgical cosmetic procedures, such as breast augmentation and tummy tucks, are down 9 percent overall.

A standard Botox procedure involving the upper face averages $800, said Dr. Loren Schechter, who performed Axelrod's procedures for about $5,000.

Two vials of Restylane, a
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