Do people earning less than $60,000 a year make up the majority of plastic surgery patients?

February 15, 2011

Do people earning $60,000 a year make up the majority of plastic surgery patients?
Do people earning $60,000 a year make up the majority of plastic surgery patients?

If Laurie Essig speaks the truth, it’s time to change the way we think about plastic surgery. The idea that cosmetic surgery belongs to the “Beverly Hills Housewives” and their affluent counterparts may be more myth than fact. According to Essig, assistant professor of sociology and gender studies at Middlebury College, as reported by Salon.com, people earning less than $60,000 per annum make up the majority of plastic surgery patients.

Essig thought that the recession would be the kiss of death to the plastic surgery industry. But by the time she put pen to paper, she was in for a big surprise. In researching her book, “American Plastic: Boob Jobs, Credit Cards, and Our Quest for Perfection,” Essig discovered that not only is plastic surgery stronger than ever, but it is also becoming more and more a part of every man’s beauty regime.

According to Essig’s research, much of this surgery is paid for with credit. Essig contends that even if you earn $23,000 a year, you can make a credit arrangement for plastic surgery. As an example, she points to young transgender people in their 20s with student loan debt who had all undergone breast reconstruction surgery to make their chests look more masculine.

Essig interviewed plastic surgeons and a cross section of their patients, including postal workers, transgender college grads, sex workers, laid-off workers and stay-at-home moms. Quoting statistics from the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, Essig states that cosmetic surgery procedures went down only 2 percent in 2009, contradicting media projections that the recession would be the end of plastic surgery. Nonsurgical procedures, such as fillers and Botox have actually gone up. Essig explains this phenomenon simply. People feel that, “If I invest in a facelift I am more likely to keep my job or husband.”

If you have any questions about cosmetic surgery procedures, including financing, contact a board-certified plastic surgeon at the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery


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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