Most Popular Places For Plastic Surgery
Say you know two women with identical figures and facial features. One lives in New York, the other in Texas. Image-conscious, both are planning on having plastic surgery. It only makes sense that they might choose similar procedures, right?
The latest statistics released today by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons show that U.S. demand for types of cosmetic procedures varies from region to region.
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While breast augmentation, liposuction and nose reshaping again top the list of the country's most popular cosmetic surgical procedures, the organization's 2007 regional distribution data, which estimates the number of procedures performed by ASPS member surgeons and other board-certified physicians, indicate interesting differences.
Hair transplantation, for instance, turned out to be most popular in the East and West South Central states, with an estimated 8,789 procedures performed there in 2007--48% of the total for the country. That's compared to 22% for the Mountain Pacific states and 10% each for the New England/Mid Atlantic, East and West North Central and South Atlantic regions. And out of 240,660 eyelid surgeries performed in 2007, 34% were done in the Mountain Pacific region alone.
The factor that seems to play the biggest role in influencing why a type of plastic surgery is more popular in one region than another, experts suggest, is the weather.
In states such as California and Arizona, where it is warm and sunny year-round, people tend to wear less clothing and are thus more body-conscious, says Dr. Payman Simoni, a Beverly Hills-based plastic surgeon. The region is also famously home to Hollywood. Both help explain why the Mountain Pacific states led the country in a number of figure-oriented surgical procedures, including breast augmentation, breast lift, breast implant removals, liposuction, pectoral implants and tummy tucks.
Conversely, Simoni says, people living in states with more variable climates, such as New Jersey and Pennsylvania, might be more apt to focus on facial surgical procedures. The New England/Mid Atlantic region had the highest numbers of lip augmentation, with 29% of 23,585 estimated procedures, and nose reshaping, with 29% of 284,960 procedures.
To some extent, demand for different procedures can even feed off of itself.
That's because what people want "becomes a matter of what they see and what they're used to," says Dr. Alan Matarasso, a New York-based plastic surgeon and ASPS spokesman.
Many plastic surgeons also say a region's ethnic makeup can be a factor. Almost a quarter of cosmetic plastic surgery procedures, or 2.6 million, were performed on ethnic patients--Hispanics, African-Americans and Asian-Americans--in 2007, up 13% from 2006. ASPS data on these three groups shows that African-Americans most commonly requested nose reshaping, liposuction and breast reduction; Asian-Americans requested nose reshaping, breast augmentation and eyelid surgery; and Hispanics requested breast augmentation, nose reshaping and liposuction.
There are fewer differences in the types of cosmetic, minimally invasive procedures in demand across the country. It's estimated that 9.9 million of the procedures, such as chemical peels, were performed by ASPS member surgeons or other board-certified physicians in 2007, up from 9.1 million in 2006 and 5.5 million in 2000. But they do tend to be most popular in the New England/Mid Atlantic and Mountain Pacific regions. The latter had the nation's greatest numbers of a variety of procedures, including Botox, hyaluronic acid, laser leg vein treatments and laser hair removal.
That may be, in part, because time-pressed residents of these regions' urban areas want quick fixes that won't keep them out of the office for weeks at a clip dealing with bruising and sutures, Simoni says.
Not all of the numbers, however, mean a lot or make sense, plastic surgeons say.
While the data showed that 30% of buttock lifts were performed in the East and West North Central--the most in the country--the ASPS estimates only 3,300 procedures were done across the country in 2007. Dr. Loren Schechter, a Chicago-based plastic surgeon, says it is not a commonly requested procedure in his practice. Instead, he sees far more post-partum women seeking out breast and abdominal surgery.
And though 39% of cheek implants were performed in the East and West South Central states, again, ASPS estimates just 7,964 procedures for the country in 2007. Dr. Cynthia Mizgala, a New Orleans-based plastic surgeon, says not only are patients in her practice not requesting cheek implants, they're moving more toward use of their own tissue for filler--creating a more natural look.
Beyond any of the national differences the numbers show, of course, you also can't discount the impact people's individual personalities have on their choice of surgeries--and those will differ widely within a region, state, county, block and home.
"You may get somebody from a certain part of New York who wants Botox all over and someone from Long Island who only wants it in one area because she's afraid of losing all of her expression," Matarasso says. "As you distill it down, sensibilities change."
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