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Financial crisis hits plastic surgeons

Americans reeling from recession spent $10bn (£6.5bn) on plastic surgery procedures last year, down 3 per cent from 2008, with declines for all of the most popular procedures, according to new data.

Breast enlargement, nose jobs, eyelid surgery, liposuction and "tummy tucks" were all down, with liposuction showing the biggest decline, the latest figures from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) showed.

The top five procedures overall in 2009 were breast augmentation (down 6 per cent); nose reshaping (down 8 per cent); eyelid surgery (down 8 per cent); liposuction (down 19 per cent) and the "tummy tuck" – the surgical cutting of excess fat on the abdomen and stomach (down 5 per cent). About 210,000 teenagers had cosmetic surgery, making up 2 per cent of the procedures, or the smallest group, according to the data. The most popular cosmetic procedures among teens were nose reshaping, breast reduction in boys; breast enlargement, ear surgery and liposuction. Less invasive surgery like Botox and wrinkle fillers are up 99 per cent since 2000. Facelifts also remain of high interest to baby boomers, those aged 55 and above.

The reported declines did not seem to reflect a cultural shift away from plastic surgery, said Tom Seery, president of RealSelf.com, a social media website focused on cosmetic surgery. "Interest in cosmetic makeovers is significant and expanding, especially by those seeking solutions to ageing and body contouring, especially post-pregnancy," he said.

A survey commissioned by RealSelf.com showed that if money was not an issue, more than one third of women and one in 10 men would opt for a facelift. The ASPS figures showed that 91 per cent of those undergoing cosmetic procedures were women.