2009 Was a Tough Year for Plastic Surgeons

2009 was a tough year for many Americans. And plastic surgeons were no exception. The recession whittled away at their incomes last year, continuing a 20 % decline in over the last 2 years. According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, when we consider the more expensive surgical procedures, the numbers are even more depressing – most of the decline has been here, with less expensive procedures like botox and wrinkle fillers holding their own.

2009 was a tough year for many Americans. And plastic surgeons were no exception. The recession whittled away at their incomes last year, continuing a 20 % decline in over the last 2 years. According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, when we consider the more expensive surgical procedures, the numbers are even more depressing – most of the decline has been here, with less expensive procedures like botox and wrinkle fillers holding their own.

And leading the way as the most popular cosmetic surgical procedures? 312,000 women had breast augmentations last year. And 284,000 had liposuction. But those numbers are dwarfed by the 2.6 million people who had botox, and the 1.3 million people who had their wrinkles filled.


Plastic surgeons are expecting a huge boost in procedures as soon as the economy recovers. Because the only thing that is as certain as taxes, is the development of wrinkles.

But everyone knows about those plastic surgery procedures that are wildly popular. But there are a lot of procedures that are losing popularity, even going extinct.

Way back in 1997, hair transplants were very popular – 61,000 people underwent the procedure – but last year only 18,000 people in the entire country purchased those plugs. Cheek implants are almost extinct – the 1,700 people last year was a far cry from the 11,000 in 1997. And chin implants, eyelid lifts, browlifts, collagen injections, dermabrasion and ear setback surgery are all decreasing in popularity.

Why is this happening? Collagen has been replaced by better wrinkle fillers, like Restylane and Radiesse. Cheek implants just look funny in most people, other than those aliens in Star Trek. And hair transplants? Well how many good ones have you seen?

Will you ever feel comfortable in your own skin? That is, if you don't make an effort to protect it? Although 64% of adults do report wearing sunscreen when outside for prolonged periods of time, it turns out that only about 10% of people surveyed actually protect themselves daily, according to a recent review.

No matter what your skin tone is, unless you live in a cave with no sunlight, daily protection with either sunscreen, sunblock or protective clothing can not only protect you from developing sunburns (ouch!) but can significantly reduce your risk of developing skin cancer, particularly the deadliest type called melanoma. In addition, for those of you wanting to keep your youthful looks, daily sunscreen has been shown to reduce the development of wrinkles. A great teacher once told me that the best way to not have wrinkles is not to get them in the first place (think of how much money you can save on useless creams that claim to diminish wrinkles).

Keep Reading Show less