Patients continue to invest in their appearance and their health.

A recent survey conducted by the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery found interesting trends in 2008. While nationwide the overall demand for cosmetic surgery has decreased due to the economic climate, the request for non-invasive procedures has increased. The most requested minimally invasive procedures included Botox®, dermal fillers such as Restylane, Perlane, Juvederm and Radiesse, and skin resurfacing treatments such as Fraxel. The recent poll of surgeons found that both men and women spent money on procedures to look and feel refreshed.

Why are patients willing to invest in their appearance? Three out of four physicians said they treated patients who requested procedures to stay competitive in the workplace. Other noteworthy trends included men requesting cosmetic surgery to be more attractive to their partners (43 percent), couples undergoing facial plastic surgery procedures together (41 percent), and woman seeking treatment to look and feel their best for their wedding day (39 percent).

Certain trends were attributed to ethnic enhancement. Facial plastic surgeons reported Rhinoplasty (nasal surgery) as the most popular procedure requested by African-American (85 percent) and Hispanic (57 percent) patients. Blepharoplasty, or eyelid surgery, was the most requested treatment by Asian-American patients (61 percent); facelifts were the most popular surgical procedure among Caucasian patients (40 percent). Ethnic facial plastic surgery is on the rise as 83 percent of physicians surveyed said facial plastic surgery will increase among these populations. This growth is likely to be attributed to an increase in minority specialists whom ethnic patients regard as more attuned to their needs, and a greater acceptance of cosmetic surgery as a whole.

In 2008, approximately 84 percent of patients seeking facial plastic surgery were female. The most common cosmetic surgical procedures undergone by women were facelifts (average of 55 procedures per surgeon) and blepharoplasty, or eyelid surgery (45 procedures). This procedure was in high demand for women looking to eliminate drooping and puffiness in the lid.

A growing number of younger women are visiting physicians’ offices specifically for Botox. According to this year’s survey, 60 percent of facial plastic surgeons treated women under the age of 35 for the injectable. According to physicians, younger women are seeking this treatment to improve their youthful appearance and prevent deeper wrinkles from appearing later in life.

During the downturn of the economy, many non-specialists are marketing their services at a low rate. More than half of all surgeons surveyed found advertising associated with specific injectable fillers, lasers, or other cosmetic treatments to be deceptive. Many non-medical personnel have entered the arena of cosmetic treatments and the buyer needs to beware. If an advertisement for a cosmetic procedure appears to be too good to be true, it may be.

The future of facial plastic surgery is bright for both physicians and consumers. The popularity of cosmetic procedures will continue to grow as consumer demand increases and technologies and treatments improve.