ASPS Report Shows Second Year of Consecutive Growth in Plastic Surgery Market

The American Society of Plastic Surgeons released their annual statistics report last week, and it shows that Americans chose 1.6 million procedures last year.

When combined with minimally invasive procedures like Botox or Laser Treatment, the total comes to a much greater 13.8 million procedures.

Based on the latest statistics, the society is reporting a 5 percent increase in procedures for 2011.

Good news if you live in New Jersey and are looking to get a little work done –the hotly-debated tax on cosmetic procedures signed into law in 2004 is going to be repealed.

A New Study Explores Eyelid Ptosis Repair

A new study by the American Academy of Ophthalmology takes a closer look at ptosis repair, a surgery that has functional and aesthetic benefits improving the patient’s vision, appearance, and quality of life.

Ptosis, a condition characterized by drooping upper eyelids, can interfere with vision, cause discomfort and detract from your appearance. Through upper eyelid surgery and blepharoptosis repair, these problems may be corrected.

Multiple Studies Confirm Outcomes

The new study published in Ophthalmology journal analyzed the results of 13 other studies, looking at the reported outcomes of these surgeries.

“As oculoplastic surgeons, we see the visual improvement and comfort that patients obtain from the surgical correction of upper lid ptosis and dermatochalasis,” said Kenneth V. Cahill, MD; “this study was performed to analyze the scientific data available to substantiate this.”

An Elective Procedure?

Sometimes, Dr. Cahill says, patients are denied functional blepharoplasty and ptosis repair surgery by third party payors because of “arbitrary and/or incorrect policies regarding the functional indications for these procedures.” Although eyelid surgery is frequently performed as an elective cosmetic procedure, ptosis repair improves vision and should be characterized as such. The procedure helps address problems such as:

  • Ptosis, drooping of the upper eyelid due to paralysis or disease, and
  • Dermatochalasis, loose, redundant skin on the eyelids

Dr. Tamara R. Fountain, an American Academy of Ophthalmology clinical consultant, was not involved in the study. But said she is always amazed at how life-changing the surgery can be for patients who suffer from ptosis. “For my patients who have been denied coverage and then choose to pay out of pocket, they often tell me it was the best investment they’d ever made and only wish they’d done it sooner,” Dr. Fountain said.

Read more from Medscape Medical News or view the abstract from

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie signed a bill to phase out the six percent tax on cosmetic procedures in three stages.

The tax will be reduced to four percent this year, down to two percent next July, and finally eliminated altogether by July 2014.

Initially conceived as a way to generate additional revenue for the state, the legislation has come under fire by the New Jersey Society of Plastic Surgeons (NJSPS) and the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) for being counterintuitive and costing more money than it brings in.

The tax adds a little over $10 million a year in revenue, but that number falls far short of the numbers legislators expected to rake in.

Furthermore, the tax loses money by encouraging what Allergan CEO David Pyott calls “surgical flight.” Potential patients chose to travel to neighbouring states for surgery to avoid taxes, and some practitioners followed suit and relocated their practices out of state. Independent reports found that between 2005 and 2008, for every dollar made from taxes, three were lost.

The bill was almost rescinded in 2006, but then-Governor Jon Corzine vetoed the legislation. The president of the NJSPS, Dr. Chris Godek, is pleased that the tax is finally being abolished. “We’re happy to finally have erased a tax that was unfair on several different levels including bias against women and which caused major unforeseen problems, such as the flight of residents across state borders for procedures,” says Dr. Godek.

According to Plastic Surgery Portal, a procedure like breast augmentation costs an average of 4000 dollars. At the current rate of six percent, an extra 240 dollars are added to that cost in NJ. Under this new legislation, that number will drop to $160, and then $80, before it is finally waved entirely. The bill also applies to dermatological and ophthalmological procedures, in a time of financial difficulty for many Americans.

With consumer confidence rising across the board, the demand for plastic surgery is rising as well.

“Consumer confidence was up and auto sales rose 10 percent,” said ASPS President Malcom Roth, “so it is not surprising that we would also see increased demand for plastic surgery procedures,” he concluded.

Procedures in cosmetic surgery increased 2 percent. For the first time since 2004, facelift surgery is among the top five cosmetic surgeries.

The number of tummy tucks decreased during 2011, while chin augmentation nearly doubled. Here are the top 5 for 2011:

  • 307,000 Breast augmentation procedures
  • 244,000 Rhinoplasty procedures
  • 205,000 Liposuction procedures
  • 196,000 Eyelid surgery procedures
  • 119,000 Facelift procedures

Surgeons also reported a sharp increase in lip augmentation procedures; at more than 25,000 procedures performed, they were up 49 percent from 2010.