Women far outnumber men for undergoing plastic surgery

October 31, 2013

Q. What is the most common type of cosmetic surgery?

I was surprised by the answer to this question. I guessed facelift and was wrong. My wife, Gale, answered correctly without hesitation. Breast augmentation is the leader. She talks to more women, I guess. Women outnumber men by about nine to one for undergoing cosmetic surgery.

According to 2012 statistics from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the largest organization of board-certified plastic surgeons, these are the top five cosmetic surgical procedures with the average fees:

Breast augmentation (286,000) $3,543. Breast augmentation procedures are increasing, and so are the number of silicone implants being used. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration banned silicone implants in 1992, after some serious problems were reported. In 2006, the FDA allowed the reintroduction of plastic gel implants. More than half of the implants now are silicone; the rest are made of sterile salt water. In the procedure, the implants are placed beneath either the breast tissue or chest muscles.

Nose reshaping (243,000) $4,493. Rhinoplasty, or as it is commonly known, “the nose job,” is popular among all age groups. According to one study, about a third of patients contemplating a nose job could be suffering from a mental illness in which they can’t stop thinking about an imagined or minor flaw in their appearance.

Eyelid surgery (204,000) $2,972. Skin loses its natural elasticity as we age. However, some people have eyelid problems that are genetic. Eyelid reshaping (blepharoplasty) is performed by plastic surgeons on both the eyelids immediately above and below the eyes, and excess tissue underneath the eyes, too. In some cases, an eyelid lift is required to help improve a patient’s eyesight.

Liposuction (202,000) $2,852. Some people just can’t process fat, even with vigorous exercise and spartan diets. Liposuction is a potential solution, especially if they’re only slightly overweight and have good skin. During liposuction, fat cells are actually liquefied by injection or ultrasound and then removed. The removal of fat cells is permanent. However, it doesn’t prevent the addition of new fat cells.

Facelift (126,000) $6,630. Drooping facial skin is a common problem with aging. During a facelift (rhytidectomy), facial soft tissues are lifted, excess skin is removed and skin is draped back. A neck lift (platysmaplasty) is often done with a facelift. A facelift isn’t a cure-all for wrinkles or sun damage. This can be corrected with a a skin-resurfacing procedure.

Nose reshaping is widespread among teenagers. The shape and structure of your nose changes the least during your lifetime. Youngsters undergo rhinoplasty to get a new start. The procedure is common around the time of of high school graduation.

Breast augmentation is a popular procedure for those in their 20s, when breasts are usually fully formed. The ASPS says that this is a time when image is very important to women, so they seek larger breasts in order to boost their self-confidence and balance the proportions of their new adult figures.

Liposuction is popular for men and women after they are in their 30s, when their metabolism slows and they see a change in the way their bodies deposit fat.

The results of aging begin to show in our 40s. Patients between the ages of 40-54 are likely to undergo an eyelid and/or brow-lifting surgery.

The facelift is an extremely popular procedure for those 55 and older.

(This is the first of two columns on changing your appearance. Stay tuned.)

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