US cosmetic surgery customers defy credit crunch

It seems that despite the growing gloom in the American financial system, customers are still seeking out cosmetic surgery and are giving the industry a boost in an otherwise depressed economy.

According to the Detroit News, high fuel prices and tightening finances have not deterred people from having cosmetic procedures. Instead, many patients have simply made money-saving efforts by cutting back on the frequency of visits to the surgeries or are switching to less expensive procedures. They have also indicated a willingness to save in other lifestyle areas to free up room in their budgets for cosmetic treatments.

Dr Ayoub Sayeg, a plastic surgeon practising in Detroit, said: "The economy is going to take three to five years to get better, but people are not going to wait for that. They will drive less but they will budget in a face-lift. They will budget in Botox."

While many plastic surgeries in the Detroit area found that procedures such as breast augmentation and liposuction have remained flat over the last year, treatments such as Botox injections and other types of wrinkle relaxing fillers has increased significantly, despite the economical downturn.

The uptake of cosmetic treatments across the US varies from region to region; not all currently boast figures as impressive as those in Detroit - in some areas of the US, surgery prices have been lowered slightly to reflect the economic slump.

However, in recent years cosmetic surgery procedures have remained on the rise in the US, reaching 11.7 million across the country in 2007 - up two per cent from the year before - according to figures from the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.