Survey: Patients relying less on friends for plastic surgery information

New survey results released today by the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (AAFPRS) showed more patients sought out social networking sites, rather than friends, for advice and information on facial plastic surgery before choosing a procedure in 2011.

Academy surgeons found 42 percent of patients receive most of their information about plastic surgery from social media, an increase from 29 percent in 2010. At the same time, the percentage of patients who obtain information on plastic surgery from friends dipped to 48 percent, down from 63 percent in 2010. The majority of surgeons surveyed also reported 70 percent of their patients request procedures by describing the area of concern rather than requesting a specific product or procedure by name. Full results to the survey can be found on the AAFPRS website.

Non-surgical procedures performed by the Academy’s surgeons in 2011 remained steady, but continued to outnumber the amount of surgical procedures performed. The survey results also showed that 63 percent of procedures performed were cosmetic versus reconstructive procedures.

Reversing a trend in past years, the average costs of both surgical and non-surgical procedures decreased in 2011. For surgical procedures performed by Academy members, only otoplasty and implants increased in cost while non-surgical procedures saw a minimal increase in the average cost of chemical peels (superficial). With the exception of rhinoplasty, the majority of procedures, both surgical and non-surgical, were performed on patients between the ages of 35 and 60.

The most common non-surgical procedures last year were Botox (a type of neuromodulator) and hyaluronic acid injections, while the number of poly-l-lactic acid injections and fat injections increased slightly. Rhinoplasties, ablative skin resurfacings, blepharoplasties and facelifts topped the list of surgeries.

Procedures Vary By Age/Gender

For the third consecutive year, women outranked men in every category for both surgical and non-surgical procedures except for hair transplants, and age played a factor in surgery selection. Women under age 35 opted for less invasive procedures, but the numbers for certain procedures decreased from the previous year. The most common non-surgical procedures for women under age 35 were Botox injections (64 percent, down one percent from 65 percent in 2010), hyaluronic acid injections (55 percent), chemical peels (24 percent) and microdermabrasion (15 percent).

Facelifts, blepharoplasty, ablative skin resurfacing, rhinoplasty and lip augmentation were the most common surgical procedures performed on women overall, while Botox, hyaluronic acid injections and microdermabrasion were the most common non-surgical procedures in women overall.

Women between the ages of 35 and 60 most commonly underwent blepharoplasty, Botox, brow lifts, facelifts, filler injections and chemical peels. The average number of those procedures, however, decreased between 1 to 8 percent from 2010. Chemical peels decreased 8 percent while facelifts and browlifts both decreased 6 percent since last year.

Rhinoplasty continued to be the most common surgical procedure performed on both women and men under the age of 35. Both men and women between the ages of 22 and 34 underwent the procedure the most of all age groups, with the average percent of rhinoplasties up 2 percent for this age group from the previous year.

In addition to rhinoplasty, the most common surgical procedures for men were revision surgeries, hair transplants and blepharoplasties. Botox, hyaluronic acid injections, microdermabrasion and calcium hydroxyapetite were the most common non-surgical procedures performed. For men under 35, otoplasty and chin augmentation were the most performed surgical procedures after rhinoplasty.

Ethnicity Also Plays a Role

A quarter or more of facial plastic surgeons have seen an increase in the ethnic populations in 2011, with the number of Caucasian patients topping the list, increasing 37 percent from 2010. Surgeons also reported an increase in their Hispanic, Asian American and African American patients in 2011. Of the four different popular cosmetic surgeries, African Americans and Hispanics were most likely to have received rhinoplasty (88 percent, up 10 percent from 2010 and 67 percent respectively). Asian Americans were most likely to have received blepharoplasty (56 percent) or rhinoplasty (35 percent), while Caucasians were more likely to get rhinoplasty (41 percent) followed by facelifts (34 percent).

Patients Not Requesting “Celebrity Procedures"

While more patients appear to be gleaning information on plastic surgery from social media, only 14 percent of surgeons in 2011 saw an increase in requests for “celebrity procedures” such as Angelina Jolie’s lips. Surgeons also reported that patients are split in their concern regarding the results and cost when making the decision to undergo facial plastic surgery.

Find the Right Surgeon

The AAFPRS reminds patients and professionals that when considering a facial procedure to first seek surgeons who are qualified, trained and experienced in performing those procedures and ensure that patients trust their face to a facial plastic surgeon. The AAFPRS web site offers a searchable member directory, which can help you find an AAFPRS facial plastic surgeon near you. For more information, visit

About the AAFPRSThe American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery is the world's largest specialty association for facial plastic surgery.  It represents more than 2,700 facial plastic and reconstructive surgeons throughout the world. The AAFPRS is a National Medical Specialty Society of the American Medical Association (AMA), and holds an official seat in both the AMA House of Delegates and the American College of Surgeons board of governors. AAFPRS members are board certified surgeons whose focus is surgery of the face, head, and neck. AAFPRS members subscribe to a code of ethics. In addition, the AAFPRS provides consumers with free information and brochures and a list of qualified facial plastic surgeons in any area by visiting the AAFPRS web site, .

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