Patients delaying surgeries because of finances

November 2, 2011

Patients delaying surgeries because of finances
Patients delaying surgeries because of finances

A pair of recent surveys reveals that a poor economy may be forcing many people to seek out non-surgical options rather than full cosmetic plastic surgeries to enhance their appearance.

The first study, conducted by the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons (AAFPRS), surveyed patients. It revealed that more than half (53 percent) of respondents considering facial plastic surgery had been affected by the economy in their decision to move forward with medical anti-aging treatments instead.

In addition, 59 percent said they were likely to delay facial plastic surgeries for a year or longer in favor of more affordable non-surgical options, such as microdermabrasion.

The majority of patients indicated they would prefer treatments with longer-lasting results over immediate effects, and most felt that duration of effect was more important than cost in selecting a medical anti-aging treatment.

In contrast, plastic surgeons who were surveyed for the second study generally perceived patients as desiring immediate effects and valuing cost over longer-lasting results.

The survey, conducted by the Aesthetic Surgery Education and Research Foundation (ASERF), gauged physicians' knowledge of their patients' preferences. It found that 61 percent of plastic surgeons felt that patients preferred long-lasting results, with 82 percent responding that they believed patients would prefer an immediate result lasting one year over a procedure with more gradual effects that lasts over two years.

In addition, 63 percent reported that they believed cost was a more important factor for their patients than treatment longevity

"These survey results show that we should be aware of our patients' desires when it comes to nonsurgical cosmetic procedures," said Foad Nahai, MD, Editor-in-Chief of Aesthetic Surgery Journal. "As the survey indicates, we may find that patients are willing to accept higher costs if they know their procedure will have longer-lasting results."

Non-surgical procedures such as Botox injections, hyaluronic acid injections, chemical peels and microdermabrasion have grown in popularity in recent years. According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, surgical procedures have increased in popularity by 71 percent since 1997. Non-surgical procedures have seen a much more rapid growth. Overall, these procedures have increased by 228 percent during the same time period.

While these procedures may be less expensive than surgical ones, the results are temporary and often must be repeated to sustain the desired appearance.

Individuals considering a surgical or non-surgical cosmetic procedure are encouraged to speak with a licensed, board-certified cosmetic plastic surgeon about their desires and expectations. 


The mission of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) includes medical education, public education and patient advocacy. Plastic Surgery News Briefs are summaries of current stories found through various news and magazine outlets that relate to or mention plastic surgery and cosmetic procedures. The views expressed in these news articles do not necessarily reflect the opinions of ASAPS, but are merely published as an educational service to our members and the general public. For additional information on these subjects and other plastic surgery related topics, please go to www.surgery.org

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About ASAPS
The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), is recognized as the world’s leading organization devoted entirely to aesthetic plastic surgery and cosmetic medicine of the face and body.  ASAPS is comprised of over 2,600 Plastic Surgeons; active members are certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (USA) or by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and have extensive training in the complete spectrum of surgical and non-surgical aesthetic procedures. International active members are certified by equivalent boards of their respective countries. All members worldwide adhere to a strict Code of Ethics and must meet stringent membership requirements.

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