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The Recession Slices Into Cosmetic Surgery Profits

Cosmetic surgery may be more talked-about than ever, but it's actually declining as of late. The Wall Street Journal reports that in 2009, elective cosmetic surgeries and procedures were down 2 percent from 2008. The number of surgeries dropped by 17 percent, and nonsurgical procedures such as Botox were essentially flat.

Sounds like a huge change, but here's another number to put it into perspective: 10 million. That's the number of total procedures, surgical or nonsurgical, that were performed last year. (Eighty-five percent were nonsurgical, suggesting that people are more comfortable with needles than scalpels.) Statistics may be down, but that's still a lot of people.

Why are the numbers sinking? It's the economy, stupid. Dr. Phil Haeck, a Seattle plastic surgeon, told the WSJ that people are more worried about losing their jobs than losing their wrinkles. "Job priority is number one, cosmetic surgery is number two," he said. (Number two? Really?!) But that doesn't mean the outlook is completely ass-backward for surgeons. Bringing up the rear are butt lifts (up 25 percent) and butt augmentations (up 37 percent). Could the drop in cosmetic procedures mean that we're on our way to accepting ourselves more, or do you think it's just a temporary setback for the industry?

Source: Flickr user (and med student) Aleera*

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