Each year about this time the American Society of Plastic Surgeons releases their report on statistical trends based on the previous year’s numbers. The big story this time around is facial rejuvenation, both facelift surgery (up 6% compared to 2011) and procedures such as Botox and dermal fillers like Juvederm. My own practice numbers reflect this trend, with facelift surgeries up nearly 20% last year, and along with Calidora we are one of the top Botox accounts in the country.
Nationally, cosmetic surgery as a whole actually declined slightly, so why the move to facelifts? There are several possible answers, but here is my take on it: Facelifts became less popular during the economic downturn, so there is a pent-up demand. Tummy tucks and mommy makeovers, on the other hand, are less obvious since they involve parts of the body that are often concealed by clothing. But many people considering a facelift didn’t want to be too obvious. They bided their time with injectables and noninvasive procedures, which definitely have their place but at some point only a surgical procedure will give the desired result. People are feeling better about the economy, more optimistic about the future, and there is a certain degree of “frugality fatigue” here too.
Facelift surgery continues to improve too, in terms of techniques producing natural-looking results and with shorter recovery. Attitudes are changing too, with more acceptance of a certain amount of maintenance and refurbishing.
The long-term trends in plastic surgery are revealing in some surprising ways. Compared to 12 years ago, only about half as many liposuction procedures are done each year, but about twice as many tummy tucks. Breast augmentation is decidedly more popular than a decade ago, but facelifts – even with the recent uptick – are still catching up. Ten years from now, who knows? – Maybe technology will have replaced surgery altogether. We just aren’t quite there yet.