Major Surgery or Minor Tweak?

Recent Study from the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Exposes Patient Motivations and New Trends in Facial Plastic Surgery

New York, NY, January 15, 2001 – In the pursuit of looking younger and enhancing appearance, Americans are turning to facial plastic surgery to nip, tuck and smooth the lines of time.

A recent survey released by the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (AAFPRS) reports that facial plastic surgery procedures have increased by nearly 12 percent since 1997. Overall, the number one elective facial cosmetic surgical procedure performed by AAFPRS surgeons was blepharoplasty (eyelid surgery). Procedures following close behind are rhinoplasty (nose surgery) — which has increased by 44 percent since 1997, facelifts, laser resurfacing and forehead lifts. Skin cancer reconstruction was the most frequently performed reconstructive procedure for men and women. The survey reveals that facial plastic surgeons responding to the survey were each performing a particularly large number of rhinoplasties. (The surgeons who responded to the survey were certified by the American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.) In fact, responding facial plastic surgeons reported performing an average of 88 rhinoplasty procedures (with septoplasty and without septoplasty) in 1999. Surgeons from other specialty groups also perform this surgery, and a survey by a group of general plastic surgeons (who perform surgery of the entire body) recently indicated an average of nine-to-ten rhinoplasty procedures performed per each surgeon for that same year. The total number of facial plastic surgery procedures by all surgical specialties now approaches one-million per year.*

“By looking at these figures, it’s evident that when patients are undergoing a cosmetic and reconstructive procedure of the face, they want a surgeon who performs that surgery often,” says Dr. Russell Kridel, president of the AAFPRS. “As AAFPRS surgeons, we are face specialists who are dedicated to helping patients feel better about themselves both inside and out.”

According to the survey, AAFPRS surgeons performed significantly more cosmetic surgery procedures than reconstructive procedures in 1999. This is driven by the fact that AAFPRS surgeons are performing nearly four times the number of cosmetic surgery procedures annually on females than they are on males. In fact, nearly eight in ten facial cosmetic procedures (79 percent) reported in 1999 were performed on women. In addition, AAFPRS surgeons report that their patients who are undergoing facial cosmetic surgery are clustered into three major age groups: ages 30-39 represent 15.1 percent of clients, ages 40-49 represent 18.9 percent of clients and ages 50-59 represent 22.4 percent.

AAFPRS surgeons also report that some seasons are more popular than others when it comes to undergoing facial plastic surgery. Winter reigns as the key season for chemical peels and laser surgery. Spring is the most popular season for blepharoplasty and summer was reported as the top season for rhinoplasty and otoplasty (ear surgery) in 1999.

When it comes to why patients request facial cosmetic surgery, AAFPRS surgeons report that men and women consistently cite the same reasons for their decision. Looking younger and enhancing appearance are the primary motivations for both genders. In fact, the facial plastic surgeons polled say that 90 percent of women and 68 percent of men reported looking younger as one of their top reasons for considering facial cosmetic surgery. However, interestingly enough, men were also likely to report receiving facial cosmetic surgery for work related reasons. More than one-third of men (36 percent) cited this reason to their physician, while only 18 percent of women reported the same.

Women are undergoing facial plastic surgery in ever-increasing numbers. Facial plastic surgery procedures undergone by AAFPRS female patients have increased by more than 14 percent since 1997. Among them, the most often performed elective facial cosmetic procedures are blepharoplasty, rhinoplasty, facelifts, laser resurfacing and forehead lifts. The most common elective non-surgical procedures are chemical peels and filler injections.

On the other hand, AAFPRS surgeons report performing 21 percent of the cosmetic surgery procedures on men. The most frequent elective surgical procedures undergone by men are rhinoplasty (a 58 percent increase since 1997!), blepharoplasty, hair transplants, facelifts and laser resurfacing. Surprisingly, more men than women were reported to see their physicians for skin cancer reconstruction.

The AAFPRS surveyed its members to find out what patients are truly seeking and thinking when it comes to facial plastic surgery. “Facial plastic surgery isn’t for just the ‘Hollywood types’ anymore,” says Kridel. “In fact, these results show that ordinary men and women alike are accepting facial plastic surgery as way to improve their appearance, and in turn, enhance their self-esteem.”

*Surveys by different groups using different methodologies do not necessarily produce results that should be compared to each other, but which appear to create accurate summations when added together and adjusted. The survey of general plastic surgeons was conducted by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, which states “[s]ome procedures commonly considered cosmetic might actually be reconstructive and subject to insurance reimbursement depending on the patient’s condition.”

For a complete copy of the September 2000 AAFPRS Membership Survey, please call Kerri Mazzoni at Magnet Communications, 212/367-6923. Thank you.