As the Economy Lifts, So Do Wrinkled Faces


Plastic surgery is on the rise — and so is the economy, maybe. USA Today's Healthy Perspective blog has a story about an increase in breast implants, tummy tucks, face lifts, and the like. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons estimates 1.6 million cosmetic surgeries in 2011. This is good news for the nippers and tuckers, who were once concerned the crappy economy was making plastic surgery a thing of the past. So things are looking up for all of us, right?

Plastic surgery numbers may not be perfect economic indicators – but they are going in the same upward direction as the stock market and employment rate, after falling during the recession.

See, we're all going to be OK. But it's not just the economy, stupid. Many procedures have become less expensive and more finely tuned, which means a much lower chance that you'll end up looking like Jocelyn Wildenstein.

Of course, surgeries still haven't hit the heights of 2005's Golden Plastic Age, when Americans endured a whopping 2.1 million surgeries. On the other hand, doctors are still raking in the big bucks for less invasive procedures: Botox, facial fillers, laser hair removal, and other painful and expensive outpatient tweaks. These tiny alterations might not be as dramatic as a nose job, but they do keep plastic surgeons in business. The 2011 number for non-surgical procedures: 12.2 million.

And while Joan Rivers may be the big influence on plastic surgery, Madonna could become the unwilling spokesperson for non-invasive work.

Plastic surgeons who watched Madonna's performance at the Super Bowl said it looked like she had achieved great results with just such techniques — after looking a little overdone in the past. (For the record: Madonna has not admitted to having any work done.)

Relax, Madonna, no one is saying you definitely got Botox. They're just saying you almost definitely did. And so have many, many other men and women, famous or otherwise. What surprised me about 2011's plastic surgery numbers is that when it comes to actually going under-the-knife, breast implants are still at the top.

Lament the long-gone concept of aging gracefully if you must, but face lifts are only a fraction of plastic surgeries — bigger boobs continue to keep this industry afloat.

[Image via Shutterstock]