Treatments

Bad Economy Crimps Demand For Plastic Surgery

The economic downturn is giving a nip and tuck to people's interest in plastic surgery.

Laid-off worker Lyn Talent received a free Botox injection at an Arlington, VA, spa last June. i i

hide captionLaid-off worker Lyn Talent received a free Botox injection at an Arlington, VA, spa last June.

(Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Laid-off worker Lyn Talent received a free Botox injection at an Arlington, VA, spa last June.

Laid-off worker Lyn Talent received a free Botox injection at an Arlington, VA, spa last June.

(Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Tally up all kinds of cosmetic procedures and the volume in 2009 dropped a little more than 2 percent to around 10 million compared with 10.3 million in 2008, according to data just out from the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.

But dig a little deeper and you'll find double-digit drops in some of the most popular—and expensive—surgical procedures:

Tummy tucks—down 13 percent to 128,000;

Making women's breasts bigger got smaller—procedures fell 12 percent to 312,000; and,

Liposuction was off 17 percent to 284,000.

No surprise, we suppose, that people would forgo discretionary medical procedures they have to pay for out of their own pockets.

So what were the biggest movers to the upside? Look to your backside. Buttock lifts were up 25 percent to about 3,000, and buttock augmentation grew 37 percent to about 5,000.

So what's still selling OK? Botox. Injections of the temporary wrinkle-smoother inched up nearly 4 percent to 2.6 million in 2009. The plastic surgery group put the average cost per Botox treatment at $397 and the national spending on the shots at a hair over $1 billion last year.

In our neck of the woods, a clinic got with the times and offered free Botox treatments and employment counseling to the first 50 unemployed people to show up with proof of their joblessness last June. "Botox and job consulting. It's the most intuitive pairing since peanut butter and staplers," the Washington Post called the promotion last year.

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