Plastic surgeons are clinicians. We enjoy the data, science and numbers as well as the human element of interaction with patients. Part of what makes aesthetic medicine so interesting is the way all of these factors intertwine. Reviewing the newly released American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery statistics provided the perfect example: according to the 2011 ASAPS statistics report, the majority of plastic surgery and non-surgical cosmetic treatment patients were not baby boomers ages 51 to 64, but generation x’ers (those between the ages of 35-50).
These numbers not only show that more people are pursuing both surgical and non-surgical cosmetic treatments, but that they’re pursuing them at a younger age. This shift in the plastic surgery patient demographic is no doubt the result of several factors, like increased availability of plastic surgery information, enhanced minimally-invasive surgical techniques, and expanded patient financing options. The numbers imply that Generation X patients are seeking youth- maintenance as opposed to dramatic makeovers synonymous with plastic surgery of the past.
What’s important for me and other surgeons to glean from this information is that patients continue to seeking a variety of anti-aging cosmetic treatments to match their individual cosmetic concerns as well as their unique budget. By continuing education in new plastic surgery technology and ensuring we’re properly equipped to provide a range of treatments from wrinkle reducing injectables to surgical face lifts surgeons can better meet the expectations of this shifting patient base.
What’s important for patients to remember is that no matter how sleek and promise-filled a cosmetic procedure sounds, it’s still a medical treatment and should only be performed by a certified provider. If you’re pursuing plastic surgery there are a host of things to look for in a prospective surgeon; however, the key factors are board certification and operating privileges at an accredited hospital.
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