Potential patients for plastic surgery come from every economic level and age range, suggests a study by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, Arlington Heights, Ill. Moreover, maintain researchers, motivations are personal, but not vanity oriented.
"Finally, we have a study that reveals the truth about real people considering plastic surgery," announces Walter Erhardt, 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."
The study, which polled people considering plastic surgery within the next two years, found almost 30% reported average household incomes of less than $30,000. Forty-one percent had annual incomes of $31,000-60,000, and 16%, $61,000-90,000. Only 13% claimed salaries of more than $90,000 per year.
The participants' age ranges varied as well: 26% were 18-29 years old; 38%, 30-49; and 36%, 50 or older. Eighty-one percent had not undergone plastic surgery, while 19% already had at least one cosmetic procedure. Those polled came from all regions of the U.S. More than 85% were Caucasian and 85% were women.
In addition to the general poll, in-depth interviews were conducted with those individuals who actively were considering plastic surgery. They had sought information from the ASPS Physician Referral Service in the past 18 months. Most of those interviewed felt they could achieve emotional, psychological, and social improvements by having plastic surgery. Although a majority of participants were interested in upgrading their appearance, many emphasized they were not motivated by vanity. Instead, they associated plastic surgery with fixing a bothersome physical feature.
When asked why they wanted to have plastic surgery, 75% said to gain physical benefits such as better appearance, becoming more active, and being healthier. Approximately 70% cited emotional and psychological benefits, such as greater happiness, self-esteem, and self-confidence. In addition, 45%--more notably men than women--expected social benefits from plastic surgery, including being more accepted and attractive.
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