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Study Reveals Who Is Really
Considering Plastic Surgery

(Hint: It's NOT Who You Think!)

Do you associate plastic surgery with Hollywood and Beverly Hills? Cougar age women with lots of money and even more vanity?

The American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) decided to do a study to find out more about who was considering plastic surgery and their motivations. They wound up debunking many stereotypes.

The study found potential patients came from all economic levels and age ranges. Their motivations were personal... but not vanity oriented.

“Finally we have a study that reveals the truth about real people considering plastic surgery,” said Walter Erhardt, MD, chair of the ASPS Public Education Committee. “It's not just women over 50 with high incomes who are seriously considering procedures. It's the young mom next door, the waiter who served you coffee this morning, even your coworker.”

Not Just For The Rich

The study polled 644 people considering plastic surgery within the next two years. Less than 30 percent reported that their household income was more than $60,000.

What they found was that almost 30 percent — a surprising 191 of the people who were considering surgery — reported average household incomes of less than $30,000.

Only 13 percent reported average household incomes of more than $90,000 per year, 41 percent had annual incomes of $31,000 to $60,000 and 16 percent had annual incomes of $61,000 to $90,000. So, more than 70 percent of all the participants fell into the two bottom income categories.

For The Young And The Young at Heart

If you think plastic surgery is just about fighting to stay young looking, think again. The people who responded to this survey prove that improving your image through surgery is an option for the ages. Most of the participants were under 50 years old...

  • 26 percent were 18 to 29 years old,

  • 38 percent were 30 to 49 years old and

  • 36 percent were 50 years or older.

Eighty-one percent of respondents had not undergone plastic surgery while 19 percent had already had at least one cosmetic procedure. The people polled came from all regions of the United States. More than 85 percent were Caucasian and 85 percent were women.

In addition to the general poll, 60 in-depth interviews were conducted with people actively considering plastic surgery. These people had sought information from the ASPS Physician Referral Service in the past 18 months. More than 40 percent of these potential patients had been considering plastic surgery for quite some time, often more than a year.

More Than A Pretty Face

Most of those interviewed felt they could achieve emotional, psychological and social improvements by having plastic surgery. Although most participants were interested in having plastic surgery to improve their appearance, many emphasized they were not motivated by vanity. Instead, they associated plastic surgery with improving a bothersome physical feature to overcome dissatisfaction and unhappiness with that feature.

When asked why they wanted to have plastic surgery, 75 percent of those interviewed said to gain physical benefits such as improved appearance, becoming more active and being healthier. Approximately 70 percent reported emotional and psychological benefits such as increased happiness, self-esteem and self-confidence. In addition, 45 percent — more notably men than women — expected social benefits from plastic surgery, including being more accepted and more attractive to others.

Worth The Risk

More than 85 percent of those interviewed stated the benefits of plastic surgery far outweighed the risks. They believed the risks would be minimal if they did their homework by researching the procedure and locating a qualified plastic surgeon. Also, membership in the ASPS was an important factor when looking for a plastic surgeon, demonstrating the surgeon was a skilled professional with proper accreditation.

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