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A trend in plastic surgery is giving new meaning to the phrase “having a little work done.” Plastic surgeons report more and more patients are enhancing their looks in order to get ahead in the workplace. It’s a practice that has long been recognized — even accepted — among actors and other professions that demand good looks. But this new pool of patients is coming from the corporate world. They’re seeking a confidence boost to take their careers to the next level.

The Confidence Connection

We know two things. First, plastic surgery has been proven to build confidence. According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, 87 percent of patients were satisfied with their surgical improvements and reported an overall boost in confidence as well as approval of the specific procedure.

Second, plastic surgery itself is on the rise worldwide and is more accepted than ever. A recent ASAPS report found that in 2012, more than 10 million cosmetic procedures, both surgical and nonsurgical, were performed by board-certified doctors in the United States alone. That’s a drastic 250 percent increase from the time ASAPS began collecting statistics in 1997.

The following were the top 5 surgical procedures worldwide in 2011, according to the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery:

  1. Liposuction
  2. Breast augmentation
  3. Eyelid surgery
  4. Abdominoplasty (tummy tuck)
  5. Rhinoplasty

While Climbing the Corporate Ladder – Does it Pay To Look Good?

But what effect does plastic surgery have on your performance and perception at work? Many job applicants are as focused on the lines on their face as the lines on their resume. According to Daniel S. Hamermesh, a professor of economics at the University of Texas, Austin, being attractive does help you earn more money. In an opinion piece Hamermesh wrote for The New York Times, he says an American worker who was among the bottom one-seventh in looks earned 10 to 15 percent less per year than a similar worker whose looks were assessed to be in the top one-third. Hamermesh says that’s a lifetime difference of about $230,000.

Many workers considering plastic surgery now justify the expense as a career investment, even if it just provides a boost in self-esteem, as more confident workers tend to do better at their jobs.

Social media is thought to play a role in the plastic surgery trend, according to an annual poll from the American Academy of Facial and Reconstructive Surgery. Dr. Sam Rizk, an AAFPRS member and director of Manhattan Facial Plastic Surgery in New York, told Time Magazine, “We live in a very visual world and have come to expect that we will be ‘Googled’ or ‘Facebooked’ even before actually meeting someone socially or professionally.”

Seeking Advice

Dr. Michael J. Weinberg, a plastic surgeon in Toronto (, recommends that anyone considering plastic surgery to educate themselves first so they can make informed decisions about their procedures. If you want a boost without going under the knife, you might consider a non-surgical procedure. The bottom line is one that business professionals can relate to: if you have doubts about your decision, it’s best to seek professional advice. Make an appointment with a qualified plastic surgeon who can help you focus on your personal cosmetic goals.

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