As Economy Rebounds, More Folks Try Turning Back Hands of Time

TUESDAY, Feb. 19 (HealthDay News) -- Evidence of the economic upturn can be found in more than housing starts and auto sales: A new report shows that the number of cosmetic procedures grew 5 percent in 2012.

Botox injections and other types of minimally invasive treatments led the way as more people opted for these types of facial rejuvenation procedures, while the number who chose to "go under the knife" remained relatively stable, the findings revealed.

In total, there were 14.6 million minimally invasive and surgical plastic surgery procedures in 2012. There were also 5.6 million reconstructive plastic surgery procedures last year, an increase of 1 percent from 2011, according to annual statistics from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS).

Minimally invasive procedures increased 6 percent, with more than 13 million procedures in 2012. The top five were:

  • Botox injections, also called Botulinum toxin type A (6.1 million procedures, up 8 percent)
  • Soft tissue fillers (2 million procedures, up 5 percent)
  • Chemical peel (1.1 million procedures, up 2 percent)
  • Laser hair removal (1.1 million procedures, up 4 percent)
  • Microdermabrasion (974,000 procedures, up 8 percent)

There were nearly 1.6 million cosmetic surgical procedures in 2012, a 2 percent decrease from 2011. The top five surgical procedures last year were:

  • Breast augmentation (286,000 procedures, down 7 percent)
  • Nose reshaping (243,000 procedures, no change)
  • Liposuction (202,000 procedures, down 1 percent)
  • Eyelid surgery (204,000 procedures, up 4 percent)
  • Facelift (126,000 procedures, up 6 percent).

While cosmetic breast surgeries among women decreased 2 percent between 2011 and 2012, male breast reduction surgeries increased 5 percent, to nearly 21,000 in 2012, the report said.

"For the third consecutive year, the overall growth in cosmetic surgery continues to be driven by a significant rise in minimally invasive procedures, while surgical procedures remain relatively stable. We are aware, however, that patients who begin with less-invasive treatments with a plastic surgeon may opt for more invasive, surgical procedures once required," Dr. Gregory Evans, ASPS president, said in a society news release.

Reconstructive plastic surgery increased by 1 percent in 2012 and the top five procedures were:

  • Tumor removal (4.2 million, up 1 percent)
  • Laceration repair (291,000, down 4 percent)
  • Maxillofacial surgery (209,000, up 7 percent)
  • Scar revision (171,000, down 2 percent)
  • Hand surgery (123,000, up 3 percent).

Reconstructive breast reduction increased 8 percent, with 68,000 procedures performed in 2012, the report noted.

"Although breast reduction has many physical and psychological benefits for women with overly large breasts, obstacles remain in acquiring insurance coverage," Evans said. "It's promising to see gains in this and other beneficial, medically necessary surgeries."

More information

The U.S. National Library of Medicine has more about plastic and cosmetic surgery.

-- Robert Preidt

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