The recession left no scars on the cosmetic surgery industry: Business is booming. Maybe it’s because people have more money these days, or the surgeons have new technology. Or maybe it’s because of social media.
A new study by the American Association of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery reveals a rise in cosmetic surgeries for people under 30. It also shows plastic surgery is gaining popularity alongside selfies. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons says that plastic surgery has been on the rise for four years (since the end of the recession) and predicts it will continue to rise going forward.
Why? Well, they call it Facebook for a reason. People can’t stop shoving their faces in their friends’ faces. Edward Farrior, president of the AAFPRS, says, “Social platforms like Instagram, Snapchat, and the iPhone app Selfie.im, which are solely image-based, force patients to hold a microscope up to their own image.”
A third of plastic surgeons who specialize in facial procedures told researchers they saw more business “due to patients being more self aware of looks in social media.” So more selfies means more plastic surgeries, especially ones where you don’t have to go under the knife — like botox, chemical peels, and laser hair removal.
Whether the treatment is surgical or not, here are a few tips to save money on plastic surgery in the era of selfies…
1. Grab online discounts
Coupon sites can save you money on groceries, vacations, and even cosmetic procedures. Sites like Groupon and Living Social offer discounts on minimally invasive procedures like botox and chemical face peels. Just type in your address and find the closest deals.
Prices for cosmetic procedures aren’t set in stone — you can negotiate. CosmeticSurgery.com offers these tips:
- “Stand-by surgery” — When a surgeon books a surgery and someone cancels last minute, the hospital time and anesthesiologist are already booked. You can be on call, waiting to pick up the surgery time, and the doctor may offer a discount.
- “Undergo multiple surgeries at once” — The surgeon saves money on booking hospital time, so he can pass the savings onto you.
- “Layaway” — Get on a payment plan and put money down little by little until the surgery.
- “Pay in cash” — Surgeons pay a fee when patients charge cosmetic procedures on credit cards. So to avoid that fee, you may be able to negotiate a lower price by offering cash.
3. Leave the country
Obviously, this is the most extreme way to save. But believe it or not, it’s not the most expensive.
Medical travel groups like Medical Tourism send you to countries where cosmetic surgery is dramatically cheaper: Mexico, Dominican Republic, or Thailand. You can use Patients Beyond Borders to find foreign locations specializing in the surgery you want. Just fill in the drop menus in the grey box on the top right.
Even with airfare and hotels, these trips can save you anywhere from 40 percent to 90 percent, according to these websites. Compare prices to those on Healthcare Bluebook — a guide to average prices for cosmetic surgeries in the United States.
Of course, the big question is: Are these surgeons any good at their jobs?
Medical Tourism claims that all surgeons recommended are certified, and it offers background information on those facilities.