CNN: Plastic Surgery Under the Knife Because of Economy

     The economic downturn has even affected the prettiest people – or those who aspire to be, according to CNN’s “American Morning” August 13.


     “With people cutting corners – there’s a little less nip-tuck going on these days,” CNN “American Morning” co-host John Roberts said. “Yes, the economic downturn is taking a slice out of cosmetic surgery.”


      CNN general assignment correspondent Kareen Wynter told viewers how the industry was being impacted. Plastic surgery, once thought to be a luxury, became more of a mainstream option and surged in popularity. But the economic slowdown has returned enhancement to out-of-reach-luxury status, she said.


     “We often think of plastic surgery as something for only the very rich – something that’s recession proof,” Wynter explained. “But plastic surgery reality TV shows have helped to popularize procedures like liposuction and tummy tucks with people you won’t find splashed over the fashion magazines.”


     The backdrop for Wynter’s report was California – a state with a particularly troubled economy. California is one of the states that has been hit hardest by the housing downturn. CNN found a way to make two seemingly unrelated industries – housing and plastic surgery – seem related.


     “Dr. Linda Li, a renowned Beverly Hills plastic surgeon and reality TV star, says the mortgage crisis is causing people who weren’t afraid to pay through the nose for good looks to take a second look,” Wynter said.


     According to Li – the housing downturn and the slowdown in plastic surgery are connected because people were using equity in their homes to finance those surgical procedures. The report cited American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) estimates that business is down by more than 50 percent.


      But, other than the price – there’s at least one other factor contributing to the decrease: recovery time.


     “They don’t find themselves able to take that kind of recovery period that they would have been able to take before from work – fearful that the job may not be there when they come back,” ASAPS President Dr. Alan Gold told CNN.


     But from Wynter’s point-of-view, plastic surgery may be perceived to be a luxury by some, but in Hollywood – it’s a necessity.


     “Pamela Ray Chavez [a prospective plastic surgery client] has put her procedure on hold waiting for the economy to rebound,” Wynter said. “But, in a town where beauty is often skin-deep, even a few months can feel like an eternity.”


     While a 53 percent decrease in the industry may seem enormous, it is mild compared to overall gains over the last decade for the industry. According to a Web site operated by a trade group representing the plastic surgery industry, there has been a 457 percent increase in the total number of cosmetic procedures from 1997 to 2007.


      The U.S. economy has managed to maintain slow growth – except for a 0.2-percent decrease in gross domestic product in the fourth quarter of 2007 – in spite of the media’s obsession with recession. Various news outlets have presented dismal economic reports based on obscure indicators ranging from pawn shop business to Spam sales to sweaters.