American Society of Plastic Surgeons
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ASPS Annual Statistics: Plastic Surgery in 2012

Each year, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons releases statistics about the number and variety of plastic surgery procedures that were performed in the previous year. This is a bit of a "state of the field" for plastic surgery. Perhaps not as grand as the president's State of the Union address, but still a good snapshot of what was done compared to previous years.

In a nutshell, things are quite stable. Cosmetic procedures in total were up 5%. There was a 2% decrease in cosmetic surgical procedures, but this was offset by a 6% increase in minimally-invasive cosmetic procedures. Reconstructive procedures were up 1% over 2011.

Putting your best face forward

The biggest increases last year were in facial rejuvenation procedures. In short, it's all about the face. There were significant increases in facelifts and eyelid surgeries. Not to mention increases in minimally-invasive fillers. While there is never a single reason for these changes, one has to assume that economic recovery and consumer confidence plays an important role. If people are insecure about discretionary income, these operations seem to be more affected than others. Another factor is people entering or re-entering the workforce at an older age, needing to compete with younger applicants. Having our appearance look as good as our experience and resumes do is a strong motivation. Right or wrong, our energy and productivity can be judged by how vigorous or youthful we look.

Less is more

If there is another takeaway from the stats, it's that minimally-invasive procedures are gaining popularity. Fillers, the most popular one being hyaluronic acids (Juvderm®, Perlane®, and Restylane®), are up 5%. And botulinum toxins (Botox® and Dysport®) increased 8%, soaring past six million procedures for the first time ever. But it doesn't stop here -- there were big upswings in light based therapies: both laser resurfacing and intense pulsed light. And chemical peels? Up as well: 2%. As people want to improve facial appearance with less down time, these minimally-invasive procedures really fit the bill. And, as experienced injectors are gaining more sophisticated expertise with fillers, newer uses and applications are being developed.

Hair today, gone tomorrow

While there is nothing new about laser hair removal (it has been around for a long time), its popularity is ever increasing. Men and women alike see this as both an improvement in appearance and a convenience. Since time is our most precious commodity, less time spent on grooming may leave more time for something else. Also, the laser applications for this have definitely improved and become more effective over the years.

Plastic surgery is not just for women

One clear indicator of the increase in male surgeries is in the treatment of male breast development: gynecomastia. With an increase of 5% over last year, this is one of the larger increases seen in body contouring operations. While the surgical treatment of this has not greatly changed, it seems that the awareness of this operation, and its acceptance, for men of all ages affected by this has fueled the increase.

All in all, the "state of the field" is good. The work of ASPS Member Surgeons, all of whom are board-certified in plastic surgery, is steadily growing. Stay tuned for more on these numbers.


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