Plastic surgeons specialize in surgical procedures involving the reconstruction or cosmetic repair of physical features. Liposuction, nose jobs, face lifts and breast augmentations are among the more common procedures. While some patients seek surgical treatment such as repairing a deviated septum for quality-of-life purposes, many use plastic surgery for beautification. Plastic surgeons were in the upper portion of medical specialty earners in the "2012 Medscape Physician Compensation Report" with an average salary of $270,000 in 2011.
While many people assume that plastic surgery is reserved for middle-aged people and older, a surprisingly high number of teenagers get plastic surgery each year. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons noted in its annual statistics report that 230,000 people ages 13 to 19 had plastic surgery in 2011. Many of these surgeries are for reconstructive purposes. However, the website TeensHealth indicated that physical defects, such as birthmarks and or deformities motivate many of the surgeries. As a plastic surgeon, you could specialize in procedures involving children and adolescents, or simply include them in your services to all patients.
People who perceive that plastic surgeons have a mostly female-based clientele are making a pretty accurate observation. The ASPS found that women accounted for 91 percent of plastic surgery procedures in 2011. Of total procedures, the vast majority were minimally invasive Botox treatments. Over 5.3 million women received these during the year, often for tightening of the forehead to hide wrinkles. Breast augmentations were the most common major surgery, with over 307,000 performed.
The good news if you plan to enter plastic surgery is that plenty of demand exists for the services. A 2009 study by UCLA found that 48 percent of women had an interest in some type of plastic surgery. Another 23 percent indicated that they might have an interest at some point. Thus, over 71 percent of those surveyed would give some level of consideration to having work done. Perhaps more surprisingly, 23 percent of men studied said they were interested and another 17 percent indicated they might have some interest.
The celebrity hype around plastic surgery in Hollywood seems to generally play out in the data from the ASPS study. People in the Pacific and Mountain regions receive the most procedures in most surgical categories. The big surprise, though, is that people in the northeastern United States seem to have a high demand for the procedure known as a "butt lift." The study revealed that 23 percent of these surgeries were performed in the northeast, compared to just 13 percent in the Pacific and Mountain zones combined.
Plastic surgery is notoriously expensive. However, the actual fees vary by provider and the type of procedure. According to the website Lemondrop, the most expensive surgery is the circumferential body lift, with a price tag of $8,073 as of July 2010. Tummy tucks and face lifts were both just over $5,000 and butt implants and butt lifts both came in at just under $5,000.
Plastic Surgery Rates
You might be surprised to learn that the United States does not have the highest per capita use of plastic surgery. In fact, the U.S. was ranked 19th in per capita use of such procedures, according to the Lemondrop article. In 2009, just under 31 in every 100,000 people had a plastic surgery. Switzerland's citizens set the bar by a wide margin with just over 215 people in every 100,000 having plastic surgery in 2009.
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