Lunchtime Cosmetic Procedures and the Economic Downturn

Dr. Hema Sundaram Health Guide
  • How is the recession impacting cosmetic surgery? Despite reports of a nationwide decline in cosmetic surgery procedures, I've actually seen a surge in no downtime procedures in my practice, compared to last year. In this recent article in USA Today, I noted that a number of patients consulting me recently are now considering minimally invasive cosmetic procedures such as Botox, Restylane and Fraxel or other "lunchtime lasers" instead of invasive surgery.


    Why should this be? One reason is certainly the economy. Nonsurgical face lifting with Restylane, Perlane and Botox will cost you considerably less than surgery - typically, a nonsurgical face lift costs $2500 to $5000, compared to a surgical face lift which costs $6000 to $14000. What's more, you'll also save money through not having to take time off work, since you can return to your normal activities straight after a nonsurgical face lift. An added bonus is that you'll achieve more natural-looking results with no scarring and, with advanced techniques, actually stimulate your skin to produce its own collagen, for longer-lasting results.

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    But there are other reasons why patients are increasingly opting for no downtime procedures rather than going under the knife. I've noticed another trend that may be related to the economy: Now that the dollars and cents really count, many women and men want to get the best results for the money they're paying. They are choosing an expert, board certified cosmetic dermatologist or plastic surgeon, rather than going to a spa or less specialized doctor - even if they have to travel to do this. Interior designer, Jan Lynch, who lives in California, is one of many patients who regularly travels across the country to see me for Restylane, Botox and Fraxel treatments. Other patients have specifically sought me out for treatment with new, more time-effective and cost-effective lasers such as the Syneron Triniti system, which rejuvenates all three skin layers during one session.


    Despite the economic downturn, I predict that there will be heightened interest in no downtime cosmetic surgery procedures in 2009, due to some exciting advances. Chief among these is Reloxin, the widely-anticipated, next generation Botox, which will probably be approved by the FDA early next year. Patients have already started to ask me about Reloxin. As a Principal Investigator for the FDA studies of Reloxin and one of a handful of cosmetic surgeons steering the national initiative to educate doctors on this new treatment, I've found that Reloxin is faster-acting than Botox, can give smoother results and may last longer. Botox is already the number one cosmetic treatment in the U.S., and the arrival of Reloxin will only fuel the trend for men and women to seek the newest and best in no downtime procedures.


    There's one final reason why patients may be turning away from invasive surgery but still seeking the no downtime quick (and less expensive) fix. In times of powerlessness, such as during a recession, people may seek to control those aspects of their life that they can, in this case, their appearances, and to look for a quick pick-me-up. I've seen this many times with patients who've had chemotherapy or some other major life challenge, and want to reclaim their self-esteem and their self-image. When cosmetic surgery is performed for the right reason - to balance how you look with how you feel - it optimizes your personal and professional success and is uplifting and empowering.

Published On: January 04, 2009