Impact of the current economy on facial Aesthetic Surgery

T. Jonathan Kurkjian, Jeffrey M. Kenkel, Jonathan M. Sykes, Stephen C. Duffy

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Background: American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) survey data showed a 16.7% decrease in the total number of aesthetic surgical procedures from 2008 to 2009, whereas plastic surgeons have seen an increase of 0.6% in their nonsurgical cosmetic procedures. Objective: The authors describe the results of two surveys-one administered to potential patients, one to physicians-assessing the impact of the economy on patient choices in aesthetic facial surgery. Methods: Two surveys were conducted for this study-one from the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons (AAFPRS) and one from the Aesthetic Surgery Education and Research Foundation (ASERF). Both surveys utilized the unique maximum difference (MaxDiff) scaling format, which assesses respondent opinions through attribute/question grouping and multiple exposures to the same parameter, rather than traditional one-time questioning. In this way, MaxDiff analysis helped identify the varied drivers of patients' medical antiaging treatment (MAT) selection. The AAFPRS survey was conducted online through Synovate's Global Opinion Panel to identify an appropriate audience of potential patients. The ASERF survey contained both MaxDiff and traditional questions and was e-mailed to 2267 ASAPS members. Results: Data from the AAFPRS patient survey showed that 53% of respondents had been affected by the economy in their decisions regarding MAT procedures, with many seeking out less-costly options such as microdermabrasion. An overwhelming majority (95%) also reported that they would prefer a longer-lasting treatment over an immediate effect with shorter duration; furthermore, 60% felt that duration of treatment was more important than cost in selecting a facial aesthetic procedure. In the ASERF surgeon-based portion of the study, 61% of plastic surgeons felt that patients preferred long-lasting results over immediate ones, but 63% also reported that cost was a more important factor for their patients than duration. Conclusions: Extrapolating from the patient-reported survey preferences, the authors conclude that nonsurgical facial aesthetic treatment plans should currently be focused more on longevity rather than on immediate impact. There is currently a disconnect between patient preferences and surgeon perception of those preferences, which may be remedied with increased education for both groups. It is worth noting that many patients would be willing to accept a higher cost if it was correlated with a longer-lasting result.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)770-774
Number of pages5
JournalAesthetic surgery journal
Issue number7
StatePublished - Sep 2011


  • Economy
  • Facial surgery
  • Survey

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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