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Summary: If you know how much money for plastic surgery Americans have been shelling out over the past year, it will come as no surprise that Americans spent more on surgical procedures in 2016 than in any previous year. To be sure, that includes non-invasive cosmetic surgery procedures—the popularity of which in part fueled the stunning revenue of the past year.

Money for Plastic Surgery as Spent by Americans

Ever wonder exactly how much money for plastic surgery Americans are spending? It’s a pretty big number to calculate, especially since you have to consider the fact that plastic surgery is, itself, quite expensive. That’s why it is surprising, but maybe not shocking, that in 2016, Americans spent $16 billion on plastic surgery and cosmetic procedures.

That seems like a pretty big number—and it is. In fact, it’s an increase over the previous year; 2016 was the biggest year ever when it comes to plastic surgery. That $16 billion number represents the single best year that the field of plastic surgery has ever experienced.

Does that mean that plastic surgery is more popular than ever? Sort of. There are myriad reasons that plastic surgeons had a good year last year. Let’s take a look at a few of the reasons that 2016 was a banner year and why money for plastic surgery seemed to be something more Americans were willing to part with.

Better Results, Less Pain

One of the primary reasons that plastic surgery increased in popularity over the course of 2016 was, in fact, part of a larger trend in the field. Both plastic and cosmetic surgeons have been working hard to improve results and minimize discomfort.

To a certain extent, this has been seen in procedures that emphasize a minimally invasive approach. There are several procedures that are often advertised as “minimally invasive:”

  • Liposuction: This procedure, designed to mitigate unwanted and stubborn areas of fat, only requires an incision to be a couple of centimeters in length (in most cases). Recovery might be a little more extensive than you’d expect for that kind of incision, but it’s still a minimally invasive procedure, reducing the cost and discomfort involved.
  • Rhinoplasty: Some rhinoplasty procedures require larger incision (especially in the case of an “open” nose job), but some don’t. In fact, the so-called “closed” rhinoplasty technique requires only one small incision.
  • Breast Augmentation: Surgeons have worked quite hard to make breast augmentation procedures less invasive and more comfortable—so patients heal more quickly. This approach has certainly yielded dividends, as breast augmentation was the most popular plastic surgery procedure of 2016.

Non Invasive Procedures

For some patients, “less invasive” approaches are still too invasive. That’s why cosmetic surgeons have invested heavily in creating non-invasive alternatives for many plastic surgery procedures. Those non-invasive, non surgical techniques have only grown in popularity, in part explaining the $16 billion boon of 2016. Some of those non-invasive procedures include the following:

  • Botox: One procedure that is consistently quite popular is Botox. Injections of Botox are able to mitigate lines and wrinkles in the face, in addition to presenting several other possible benefits (in some cases, Botox can be used to prevent migraines or treat Depression). Botox use has grown every year since the injectable’s introduction, and 2016 was no different. We’re expecting the trend to continue, of course.
  • Dermal Fillers: More a set of procedures and products than a single treatment, dermal fillers are also quickly growing in popularity. Mostly, dermal fillers are used to fill volume in the skin, eliminating lines and wrinkles in the process. However, dermal fillers are quite flexible in their use, and they’re often used for augmentation purposes, altering the shape of the nose or increasing the puffiness of the lips.
  • CoolSculpting: Quite likely the most popular liposuction alternative, CoolSculpting is a treatment that eliminates unwanted areas of fat by freezing them. The upside is that this is a non surgical procedure—in most cases, there’s no downtime required. The downside is that the results tend to be incredibly subtle.

Where Are Americans Spending Their Money?

It’s difficult to tell whether “non surgical” techniques are more popular than their surgical counterparts. Sure, something like 7 million Botox procedures were performed, while only 290,000 breast augmentation procedures were performed. At first, that seems like an incredibly wide gap.

But the comparison isn’t apt. In fact, it’s a lot like comparing apples and oranges. The reason is pretty simple: Botox is temporary, lasting around three months (depending on the application). Breast augmentation, on the other hand, is permanent. The results will last for decades.

This means that one person might get four Botox treatments throughout a year—getting four treatments every year adds up. Especially when you consider the fact that you get those injections every year. (In other words, 2016 is still treating all those people who got Botox in 2015 and 2014 and 2013 and so on… you get the idea).

Reasons for Increase in Popularity

Whether you get a breast augmentation or a Botox injection, it’s not uncommon for Americans to look for a deal. One of the reasons that Americans spent $16 billion on cosmetic procedures in 2016 was not, actually, due to a huge increase in the prices that surgeons charge.

In fact, some procedures saw a decrease in their overall costs. Rather, the increase in popularity of plastic surgery can be attributed more accurately to a couple more things:

  • The economy has improved: Economic indicators have been steadily improving over the past few years. In other words, the economy has gotten stronger. People have more disposable income (or more security in that income), and one of the places they’ve chosen to spend is in making themselves look more like their “real” selves.
  • The stigma has dissipated: It wasn’t that long ago that, socially, plastic surgery was not widely accepted. Celebrities would be raked over the coals for something like a breast augmentation or a rhinoplasty. These days, people are pretty open with their procedures. This, of course, leads to increased popularity.
  • Improved results: As mentioned above, surgeons have gotten quite good at providing fantastic results for patients. I should be more specific: surgeons have been generating great results for decades. But modern technologies have given surgeons more control—and with that control, plastic and cosmetic surgeons alike can exercise more finesse.

Is Money for Plastic Surgery Worth It?

Whether the money for plastic surgery that you spend is worth it or not is, ultimately, quite subjective. Plastic surgery social media website RealSelf.com has an excellent rating system, letting patients give each procedure a “worth it” rating based on how satisfied they are in the results.

According to the website of Minneapolis Plastic Surgery, a highly-regarded Twin Cities cosmetic surgery provider, it’s important to discuss your desired final results with your surgeon. The more open and honest you are about the results you’re after, the better surgeons will be able to deliver those results.

So it stands to reason that the money for plastic surgery you’re spending will more likely be worth it if you have realistic expectations and if you’re completely honest with your surgeon about what those expectations are. Money for plastic surgery is, after all, an investment. And you want that investment to last for as long as possible.

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