The economy isn't the only thing that's sagging – so are faces, breasts and bellies as would-be cosmetic surgery patients increasingly opt against costly nips and tucks because of tough financial times.
Anecdotal reports and a recent unscientific survey from an industry trade group suggest many cosmetic surgeons have been seeing a drop-off in costly operations, some by as much as 30 percent or more.
Diane Lawyer, a software company manager in Atlanta, said belt-tightening has made her put off getting her eyes done, a procedure that would cost a few thousand dollars.
“I just can't justify that right now,” she said.
Of about 700 doctors who responded to an April-May questionnaire from the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, 53 percent said business is down, some by as much as 30 percent.
September's always a slow month for cosmetic surgery, said Dr. Patrick McMenamin, president-elect of the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery. “I have no idea where October is going.”
To attract patients, “We've reworked our mailing list and Web site, all facets of the business,” McMenamin said. He hasn't lowered prices for procedures but says some doctors have.
While surgeries are down, McMenamin said he's noticed an uptick in cheaper, less invasive options, including Botox injections and wrinkle fillers. So instead of shelling out $7,000 for a facelift, patients spend $1,000 for less dramatic results.