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The Economy Is Affecting Plastic Surgeons

Plastic Surgeons: The Economy Is Affecting Us

“Business has definitely been flat,” says Dr. Brian Kinney, a plastic surgeon from (surprise!) Los Angeles. And he's not talking about his breast augmentation patients.

At the annual meeting of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, plastic surgeons expressed relief that although the economy has contributed to the slowdown of the number of cosmetic procedures in the US last year (falling 12.3 percent to just over 10.2 million), more patients are opting for nonsurgical procedures. Botox, its new competitor Dysport, and soon-to-be-on-the-market muscle-numbing creams will all provide revenue as the demand for invasive surgery wanes ever so slightly. What else is going on in the world of plastic surgery? To find out,


There is one segment of the population in which plastic surgery is on the rise: among nonwhite patients. Describing nonwhites as having long been "underserved," Dr. Julius Few, an African-American plastic surgeon from Chicago, says that when he was growing up, it seemed "unfair" that plastic surgery was available primarily to wealthy white people — but things are changing.

So basically, what we are to take from this news story is that no matter what, plastic surgeons can count on women to spend money enhancing their looks somehow, and now nonwhites, too, have the itch for invasive plastic surgery! Note the rhetoric Dr. Few uses — "underserved, unfair" — as if being able to get plastic surgery were equivalent to getting basic health care.

I wonder sometimes what Naomi Wolf, author of The Beauty Myth: How Images of Beauty Are Used Against Women, would think about the mainstreaming of plastic surgery. Not only do few women critique plastic surgery, but some have in fact embraced it as an almost necessary part of being a woman, like wearing a bra or having a period.

Wolf's discussion of plastic surgery in The Beauty Myth was was under an interesting rubric: violence. Why, she wondered, are so many women willing to spend money they might not have to go under the knife — and even risk death — to have a smaller nose, larger breasts, or conform to a beauty ideal?

What do you feel about the mainstreaming of plastic surgery?


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