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Plastic Surgery Defies Recession, Group Botox on the Rise

Photo via Flickr user stevendepoloPlastic surgery procedures increased nearly 10 percent from 2009 to 2010 with more than 9.3 million surgical and non-surgical procedures logged in 2010, at a cost of nearly $11 billion, according to Dr. Grant Stevens, chairman of the media relations committee of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), which commissioned a study released this month. Dr. Stevens is also a board certified plastic surgeon and founder of Marina Plastic Surgery Associates in Marina del Rey, CA.

“We were surprised and thrilled to see increases in a variety of areas because it points to a positive change in economic indicators for 2010 – 2011,” said Dr. Stevens. “In my own practice, I’ve seen a major increase in demand by men – the study showed an increase overall of 88 percent since 1997, breast lifts, and generally a bigger caseload proving that beauty is recession proof.”

Patients between the ages of 35 and 50 accounted for 44 percent of the total, the majority of any age group.  Requests for liposuction, eyelid surgery and abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) topped the list of most requested surgical procedures, according to Dr. Stevens.

“According to the ASAPS study, 19 percent of the patients belong to an ethnic minority,” Dr. Stevens said. “That’s a major uptick, since traditionally many surgery practices have catered to white women. It’s great news.”  He added that laser procedures, including laser hair removal, as well as chemical peels and breast reduction, are also popular and getting more so.

“The ASAPS study demonstrates that people of all ages and races want to look better, be it for themselves, a significant other or because they are seeking employment,” Dr. Stevens said.

Also, Botox was far and away the most requested non-surgical procedure. In fact, Anita Wolf, a registered nurse at Madison Skin and Laser Center in New York has noticed that what was once a procedure done in secret is becoming a group activity.

“In the past we found that people didn’t want anyone to know they were receiving Botox or filler injections,” Wolf said. “Today, they are happy to attend a Botox party with friends, sisters, brothers, and even their moms and receive treatment together, so we’ve added a party element including free food and beverages and giveaways,” states Wolf who has worked in aesthetic medicine for over seven years.

The medical spa will be hosting a Botox/Filler Party on April 19th, just in time for Mother’s Day.

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Lance Armstrong Gets 200 Massages a Year—Susie Ellis reports from ISPA

lancearmstrongLance Armstrong gets 200 massages a year! That—and the reason he even mentioned this—was one of the pearls of wisdom I gleaned from yesterday’s closing session, at what turned out to be a very good ISPA Conference in Austin, Texas.


It was around 11 a.m. that Deborah Szekely walked on the stage to give some background information regarding the ISPA Alex Szekely Humanitarian Award, which is named in honor of her son (a past leader of ISPA), who passed away from melanoma cancer in 2002. As always, she was eloquent and this time had a bit of a surprise for the audience. She came across a letter that Alex had written to Lance Armstrong during his bout with cancer. He expressed how inspiring Lance’s book had been to him and that he had even purchased 100 copies to give to all his friends and family. Deborah read Alex’s words from that letter to introduce this year’s award recipient. It was very moving.


Lance Armstrong (38 years old) came out from behind the stage curtain, receiving a great deal of applause. He was wearing blue jeans, a tight blue t-shirt, and sneakers with yellow soles that matched the yellow “Live Strong” bracelet he was wearing on the tanned right arm of his very toned body. It would be an understatement to say that the entire audience fell in love immediately. (And yes, I do mean men and women!)


He spent the next 30 to 45 minutes talking about his bout with cancer, winning the Tour de France seven times, his family, and the work he is doing now raising funds for his foundation. He also answered some questions from the audience.


Filtering Lance’s remarks through my spa and wellness lens, I’d like to share some things that stood out to me:




  • Lance Armstrong addressed Deborah as Ms. Szekely and began his remarks saying that, while watching her introduction on a monitor backstage, he thought, Wow, this woman should continue speaking!


  • In brief, his cancer began with a major headache (which later showed to be a result of lesions on his brain), spitting up blood (which turned out to be a result of golf ball–size cancer in his lungs), and swelling in his testicles (which turned out to be testicular cancer).


  • When he was first approached with the idea of a “Live Strong” yellow bracelet, he didn’t think it was such a great idea, feeling that few people would want to wear it.


  • Today, 70 million “Live Strong” wrist bands have been sold ($1.00), which means $70 million has been raised for cancer research.


  • He has four children—the oldest is a boy, followed by twin girls, and a six-month-old baby.
    He has won the Tour de France seven times and came in third in last year’s race. He mentioned that it was good for his kids to see their dad not win the top prize.


  • Lance acknowledged that his yellow wrist bands are made in China and that he has gotten some criticism for that in the past. However, he isn’t apologizing any longer since he met with the Dalai Lama and noticed he was wearing an orange wrist band with the word “Compassion” on it. Curious to know where he had them made, Lance surreptitiously turned it over to see that it too was made in China! (That got huge laughs!)


  • In answer to a question about heart-rate levels during training, he mentioned that they no longer monitor heart rates at all. Now it is all about power; thus, they measure watts.


  • Another thing they are beginning to use for training is compression boots.


  • He has a great relationship with his mother, and although he is not currently married, he is in a committed relationship.


  • He is all about prevention and thinks physical education should be put back in schools. (That’s where he formed his interest in competitive athletics.)


  • He does not always eat healthfully and faces the same temptations that everyone does. Chips, salsa, etc. Like most of us, he needs to talk to himself about getting back on track with his training.


And finally, the most memorable moment for me was his reaction to the question: How can spas make their establishments more physically appealing to men?


His face basically said, Why is that a problem? And anyway, who cares? He went on to say that he gets 200 massages a year and how important massage is to improve performance. It was as if he was saying that the decor of a place wouldn’t even factor in his decision on where to have a massage. It’s all about the massage.


Hey spa industry—we’ve come a long way!


To read Susie’s blog, click here (

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