The "anti-aging" industry has taken the country by storm. Fitness centers and gyms are overflowing, new wrinkle creams and skin care products are filling up the aisles, vitamins and supplements are flying off the shelves, "anti-aging" diets and drinks are all the rage. Green tea, anyone?
For increasing numbers of Americans, cosmetic surgery is also part of the equation. More than 10.2 million cosmetic plastic surgery procedures were performed in the United States in 2005, up 11 percent from the previous year, according to new statistics released by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS).
Dr. Lyle Leipziger, who has seen a similar increase in his own practice, is not surprised. "These days, 50 is the new 40, or even 30. Many people consider cosmetic procedures as part an overall anti-aging strategy to help them look and feel their best." That means regular exercise, a healthy diet, the use of sunscreen, and an occasional visit to their plastic surgeon.
"Each year, cosmetic surgery becomes more widely accepted in society, it is more accessible, and new techniques make it easier on the patient with less down time," says Dr. Leipziger, chief of plastic surgery at North Shore University Hospital and Long Island Jewish Medical Center.
According to ASPS, more than 1.8 million cosmetic procedures were performed last year, an increase of four percent over 2004. The top five surgical procedures were liposuction, nose reshaping, breast augmentation, eyelid surgery, and tummy tuck.
For the first time in six years, facelift was not among the top five, but it was not far behind -- 109,000 facelifts were performed last year. "A facelift provides the most dramatic results in terms of refreshing and rejuvenating," Dr. Leipziger says. "But minimally invasive procedures, which include injectable fillers to diminish wrinkles, have really come into vogue. Quick, and with very little downtime, many patients see a significant improvement in their appearance." Botox is also in great demand, working well to eradicate frown lines, forehead furrows and wrinkles around the eyes."
According to ASPS, minimally-invasive cosmetic procedures jumped 13 percent to nearly 8.5 million in 2005. The top five minimally-invasive procedures were Botox, chemical peel, microdermabrasion, laser hair removal, and sclerotherapy to reduce spider veins.
Dr. Leipziger expects the trend to continue. Increasing numbers of doctors are advertising cosmetic procedures, but not all have the same experience and qualifications. Dr. Leipziger says it's important to be an educated patient. He cautions anyone considering any type of cosmetic procedure to check a physician's credentials, ask to see before and after photos, and choose a doctor who takes the time to answer all questions in a satisfactory manner.
Anyone who would like a complimentary cosmetic surgery checklist of questions is invited to call Dr. Leipziger's office: 516-465-8787.