The last year marked a sharp shift in the kinds of cosmetic surgery procedures being sought by Americans, with breast and buttocks augmentations receding, while facial lifts, laser and Botox procedures increasing.
Los Angeles Medical Malpractice Lawyer Vincent Howard of HOWARD LAW understands that the primary reason for this is that the average age of cosmetic surgery recipients has increased, more often consisting of baby boomers.
The American Society of Plastic Surgeons reports that more than 14.5 million cosmetic procedures were performed in the U.S. last year. That's actually a 5 percent uptick over the previous year, but the number of surgeries was down by about 2 percent. However, the reason the overall numbers are climbing is because we're seeing an increase in those less-invasive procedures, such as injections and laser treatments.
Breast augmentation is still the most popular cosmetic procedure overall, but for the first time ever, the number of women going under the knife for this actually dropped by about 7 percent. That's a pretty significant dip for a single-year timeline. Still, there were nearly 290,000 breast augmentations performed last year, so it's still a substantial number.
Buttocks augmentations as well are down, after a rapid rise between 2006 and 2011. Suddenly, they dropped by more than 35 percent from 2011 to 2012.
Now, the most sought-after cosmetic procedure is facial injections, which the ASPS estimated at over 6 million - an 8 percent spike in a single year. Laser procedures too are up, by about 6 percent, accounting for about 2.2 million sessions last year.
We're also seeing a rise in cheek implants, eyelid lifts and face lifts.
In addition to the rising number of boomers seeking a more youthful appearance, we also know that advancing technology has allowed lasers to become far more effective than in the past. Before, using a laser to remove wrinkles would have meant actually burning off the skin. Not so any more.
However, we should not assume that a less invasive procedure is without risk.
You know that anytime you undergo a surgery - even seemingly routine, elective procedures - there is going to be a risk. Numbness or loss of sensation is reported anywhere from 10 to 70 percent of the time in any procedure. Breast reductions tend to produce the worst results for this, according to the ASPS. For things like tummy tucks, there is the risk of a condition called seroma, which is when fluids pool in the surgery area. Proper drainage should address this, but negligent surgeons might overlook this or conduct it improperly. There is also the risk of hematoma (excessive bleeding), infection or problems with the anesthesia.
But what about those facial procedures? Botox injections, considered relatively safe and providing temporary results, have been associated with severe allergic reactions and botulinum poisoning, which can result in paralysis of the facial muscles or even other muscles in the body, causing vision problems, breathing trouble and even loss of bladder control.
In eyelid procedures, there have been instances of the doctor removing too much tissue from the lid, which in turn prevents the patient's eye from properly closing. That can result in serious damage to the tear ducts, which can result in extremely dry eyes and/or drainage problems.
Getting a rhinoplasty, or nose surgery, puts you at risk for potential breathing problems or asymmetry.
Facelift patients have reported visible scarring, nerve damage, speech problems or even Bell's palsy.
Those who opt for laser resurfacing have reported scars, permanent skin discoloration and numbness.
These outcomes are not acceptable, and likely will entitle you to compensation.
Los Angeles Personal Injury Lawyer VINCENT HOWARD at HOWARD LAW can help. Call toll-free at 1-800-872-5925 or send us a message online.
Breasts, butts out in 2012; faces in, Feb. 19, 2013, By Dr. Anthony Youn, Special to CNN
Recalled Medicine a Risk to Children in Southern California, Feb. 15, 2013, Los Angeles Malpractice Lawyer Blog