For­get the re­ces­sion—pass the Bo­tox

Modern Healthcare - - Outliers -

The re­ces­sion has prompted a siz­able num­ber of pa­tients to put off hav­ing nonur­gent surgery such as hip and knee re­place­ments, but it seems cos­metic surg­eries—the ul­ti­mate in elec­tive pro­ce­dures—have con­tin­ued to do brisk busi­ness, thank you very much.

Data col­lected by the Amer­i­can So­ci­ety for Aes­thetic Plas­tic Surgery show that de­mand for sur­gi­cal and non­sur­gi­cal cos­metic pro­ce­dures dropped only 2% in 2009, with pa­tients shelling out nearly $10.5 bil­lion to be suc­tioned, tucked and lifted. By con­trast, an Amer­i­can Hospi­tal As­so­ci­a­tion sur­vey found 60% of hos­pi­tals re­port­ing a moderate to sig­nif­i­cant de­crease in the num­ber of pa­tients seek­ing health-re­lated elec­tive surgery in 2009.

It seems women’s quest for the foun­tain of youth was largely re­spon­si­ble for keep­ing plas­tic sur­geons in the black. Ninety-one per­cent of cos­metic pro­ce­dures were per­formed on women, with breast aug­men­ta­tion and Bo­tox in­jec­tions ac­count­ing for the bulk of pro­ce­dures.

Out­liers won­ders if the trend will stick around now that Un­cle Sam has come knock­ing. Law­mak­ers have slapped a 5% sales tax on all non-cor­rec­tive cos­metic pro­ce­dures to help pay for the newly minted health­care re­form ef­fort. It seems beauty is in­deed a tax­ing as­set.

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