World Trends in Plastic Surgery III

In view of what we have stated in our prior two postings, it is no surprise that even patients are more educated and knowledgeable about the procedures, prices, what they want… “When we go to a conference these days,” Dr.Fisher says, “you will find only 1 or 2 booths selling surgical instruments. The rest are selling – advertising, rather – the dream of looking younger and looking better. Unfortunately, it is often misplaced and misstated, because many of these new techniques and procedures stand on very shaky scientific ground, and the doctors who perform them have little or no experience in the world of real cosmetic surgery.”

The fact is that to keep pace, aesthetic surgery groups are building upscale health spas and combining them with their surgical practices. Thus, sole practitioners are increasingly rare. Since surgeons also operate less, as people ask for more non-invasive procedures, they do not have the opportunity to sufficiently perfect their techniques, in particular the new “kids on the block” – surgeons with an i-pod in one pocket, mobile phone in the other, scheduling Botox and laser instead of operating. “When I finished my medical training,” Dr.Fisher stated, “there were no creams [botulinum], or dermal fillers. Back then, we were just surgeons.”

A skilled artist-surgeon might draw a heavy sigh of despondent air here, but breast augmentation and liposuction are still extremely popular in all the countries stated in our previous posting. In fact, around the world. Cosmetic preferences are generally based on a Western standard of beauty, with small modifications to fit the population’s ethnic inclinations. Eyelid alterations and nose implants are performed throughout Asia. Surgical upper lip augmentation is popular in Thailand, and Iran has succumbed to rhinoplasty boom over the past two years.

Overall results (published in our two prior postings) were compiled by Industry Insights, a private research firm in Columbia, Ohio. They are accurate within a range of ±4.24% at the 95% level of confidence. The confidence intervals for individual countries vary.

Surveys were initially sent to 20,000 plastic surgeons in an ISAPS database. National professional societies representing plastic surgeons provided data accounting for 31,000 practicing plastic surgeons around the world. When the total number of plastic surgeons in a given country was not known, an estimate was supplied by an international organization that maintains a list of surgeons by country.

For nonreporting countries, a regression analysis was performed to estimate the number of plastic surgeons and procedures on the basis of population and economic statistics. This method accounted for less than 2.5% of the global totals, according to the ISAPS.

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