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should you look for deals on plastic surgery?

Summary: How much money do Americans spend on plastic surgery, on average? Well, if you look at the total numbers for all of America, you can easily see that Americans spend billions on plastic surgery. What they might spend individually, of course, will vary from procedure to procedure and from patient to patient.

Just How Much Money Do Americans Spend on Plastic Surgery?

When you think about all the procedures performed, how much money do American spend on plastic surgery every year? Plastic surgery is more popular than ever before–and that popular seems to be changing even as it’s growing. In other words, the procedures that were the most popular ten years ago aren’t necessarily the most popular today, even if plastic surgery as a whole is indeed more popular.

Ultimately, that means that Americans are spending a lot of money on plastic surgery. But just how much? According to the most recent statistics from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, Americans spend $16.5 billion on plastic surgery in 2018.

Of course, that single number doesn’t tell the whole story. First, it should be noted that this is a four percent increase over 2017. Four percent may not feel like a lot, but it’s a significant sum when you’re talking about billions of dollars. So we know, basically, that plastic surgery is getting a bit more popular every single year. But what we really need to figure out is why–and what procedures are leading the charge.

Plastic and Cosmetic Procedures

It should be noted that this 16.5 billion dollar figure combines all plastic and cosmetic procedures. Plastic surgery procedures are typically those that involve a scalpel–breast augmentation, liposuction, facelift, that kind of thing. So-called “cosmetic” procedures are typically those that are less invasive–Botox, dermal fillers, laser hair removal, or microdermabrasion.

There can be significant overlap between plastic and cosmetic procedures and who performs what. But the general rule of thumb is that if you need a scalpel, seek out a plastic surgeon.

So how does that break down impact these numbers? Well, it’s important to keep in mind that:

  • Plastic surgery procedures can be exceptionally expensive. Many procedures cost an average $3000-$5000 before you even start talking about anesthesia.
  • Cosmetic surgery, on the other hand, tends to be much less expensive. Botox, for example, usually costs somewhere between $600-$900.

When you look at that cost disparity, it might seem as though plastic surgery procedures are really driving this overall increase in spending. But that’s not necessarily true, as millions of Botox treatments are performed every year.

Providing Options to All Kinds of Patients

Of course, it’s not a competition. There’s no prize for first or second place here (that is, other than profits, and there seems to be enough of those to go around). Instead, the point is that patients are receiving high quality care and are given plenty of options regarding how they wish to proceed.

That said, cost is certainly a barrier for some patients. A breast augmentation could cost upwards of $10,000 after all other expenses, and 300,000 of the procedures were performed in 2018. Imagine how many breast augmentations might be performed if the procedure was less expensive.

So it’s entirely possible (if not probable) that many patients will elect to undergo less expensive cosmetic procedures because of the difference in cost. For example, you might choose to receive dermal filler injections instead of a facelift. By giving patients a wide variety of options–both in terms of results and in terms of budgets–plastic and cosmetic surgeons are able to optimize their incomes.

Will the Numbers Keep Going Up?

It seems reasonable to assume, then, that these procedures will only continue gaining popularity and that American will spend more money on plastic surgery next year than they did this year (of course, that assumes that the economy remains strong). So, yeah, it seems like Americans will keep spending more.

In large part, that’s because they’re seeing more and more options that are specifically tailored to them (more or less). The more options patients are given, the more likely they are to find what suits their needs and their budget.

It’s true that there might be something of a dark side to all of this. We’ve always (okay, not always, but for a long while now) had a rather superficial streak in our culture. We want to look good and we want to look young. Social media has been known to exacerbate those desires. Ultimately, though, these procedures exist in order to help patients feel good about themselves. And as long as that’s working, Americans will keep spending money on plastic surgery.

How much money do Americans spend on plastic surgery individually? Depends on the procedure; but as long as those procedures keep working, they’ll keep spending.


About the Author: Nick Engebretson has been writing about plastic and cosmetic surgery for almost twenty years. He’s constantly discussing advances and developments with cosmetic and plastic surgeons active in the field.

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