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Cosmetic Surgeons and Plastic Surgeons Report Conflicting Statistics


Recently released statistics from the AACS seem to show that the aesthetics industry is bouncing back, while ASAPS numbers show a slight decline in procedures.

Today, the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) released their statistics for plastic surgery in 2009 which showed a drop of 2% from 2008. The drop is surprising as many expected a much wider margin due to tough economic conditions last year. The American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery (AACS) also released their statistics based on a procedural survey which shows that the total number of procedures performed by AACS members has increased by a surprising 8% since 2008.

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Renato Saltz, MD, ASAPS president said, "Plastic surgery is feeling the effects of the recession, just like many other sectors of the marketplace." American Health and Beauty has seen an increased interest for non-surgical procedures, as echoed in the ASAPS study. Dr. Saltz goes on to say, "However, repeat patients and those putting off surgery, are likely the reason for the small growth in non-surgical cosmetic procedures. Growth in demand will likely return as the recession eases and baby boomers' offspring begin to explore surgical options."

Both the AACS and the ASAPS saw growth in non-surgical procedures such as Botox injections and facial fillers. The AACS saw a growth of 19% in less-invasive cosmetic surgery procedures while the ASAPS saw a much smaller change. Also, the AACS saw a 3% increase in invasive cosmetic surgery procedures, while the ASAPS saw a nearly 17% drop.

"The cosmetic surgery industry continues to grow at a rate many people never thought it would reach," said AACS President Mark Berman, MD. "With the aging of the baby boomer generation, I don't think we've come close to hitting the ceiling yet. That 17 million is only going to expand."

The ASAPS numbers seem to indicate that the decline has stalled since 2007, though the aesthetics industry doesn't show signs of a rebound as yet. According to the New York Times comparison between current ASAPS numbers and the statistics reported in 2007, the number of cosmetic surgical procedures since 2007 dropped by 30 percent and nonsurgical treatments fell by 13 percent.
  • The AACS Methodology: The American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery (AACS) conducted the 2009 Procedural Census to gather information about the number of cosmetic procedures performed by AACS members in the US. The sample frame for this survey was the 1,643 members of the AACS with valid email addresses at the time of the survey. The survey was conducted in January, 2010. Results are based on 254 completed surveys, representing a response rate of 16%. The number of procedures performed was weighted by the percentage of cosmetic surgeons who are members of the AACS to provide an estimated total of all US cosmetic procedures.
  • The ASAPS Methodology: ASAPS, working with an independent research firm, compiled the 13-year national data for procedures performed 1997-2009. A paper-based questionnaire was mailed to 21,000 Board-Certified physicians (8,500 Dermatologists, 7,000 Otolarynologists, and 5,500 Plastic Surgeons). A total of 928 completed and valid responses (410 Plastic Surgeons, 347 Dermatologists, and 171 Otolaryngologists) were received in time for tabulation.

    Final figures have been projected to reflect nationwide statistics and are based exclusively on the Board-Certified Plastic Surgeons; Otolaryngologists; and Dermatologists. The findings have been aggregated and extrapolated to the known population of 24,000 physicians who are Board Certified in these specialties. Though the confidence intervals change by procedure, depending on the grouping's sample size and the response variance, the overall survey portion of this research has a standard error of +/- 3.15% at a 95% level of confidence.