In 2011, even with the uncertain economy, surgical cosmetic procedures were up by 1 percent, with liposuction and tummy tucks leading the way, according to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS). Two groups seem to be opting for body contouring procedures with particular enthusiasm: women wanting "Mommy makeovers" and Baby Boomer men in their early 60s.
Post-Pregnancy Mom Makeovers
Women surveyed were universal in expressing the feeling that they were never successful in regaining their body shape and overall appearance after one or more pregnancies. In 2011, statistics show that more than 320,000 women opted for some combination of breast augmentation with liposuction and / or a "tummy tuck." The vast majority of those patients fell in the 20-39 age range.
This combination of work, primarily designed to contour the abdominal area, can run as high as $20,000 depending on how many procedures are performed. The best candidates for the surgery are not overweight, but are rather seeking to "correct" the effect of pregnancy on their bodies.
Baby Boomer Men Ditching Their Love Handles
On the other end of the spectrum, more and more men in their early 60s are opting for liposuction and related procedures to get rid of their "love handles," and to shave 10 years off their appearance. These men are part of the Baby Boomer generation and are leading the way into the "graying of America."
Every day for the next two decades, thousands of Americans will turn 65. The Boomers, famous as a generation that broke all the rules and embraced life on their own terms in post-World War II America, are determined not to age the way their parents did.
Opting for procedures like liposuction or a tummy tuck in late middle age is actually a good idea, since waiting may make the procedure medically impossible. A recent survey found that as many as 77% of Americans who are age 65 and older would have a plastic surgery procedure but cannot do so for health reasons.
Since 1997, the number of men opting to have various types of cosmetic procedures has gone up 121%. Most are in their late 50s and are choosing liposuction either because they're tired of going to the gym or are regretting the fact that they've never worked out.
Many Factors Drive the Decision to Have Cosmetic "Work"
Not all of the reasons men give for seeking cosmetic surgery relate to vanity, however. Many are driven to look younger by stiff competition in the workplace. During the Great Recession, older workers were laid off in large numbers to create space in the job market, which led more men to seek cosmetic work in an effort to stay employable.
The makeovers for these men are not usually quite as pricey as the "mommy makeover," but the national average cost for a tummy tuck, for instance, runs from $5,000 to $10,000.
One thing is for certain. Neither Moms nor aging Baby Boomers feel any need to hide the fact they've had "work" done. This is due in part to celebrities openly discussing their cosmetic procedures.
With liposuction, however, it's important to remember that the work can be done on other parts of the anatomy besides the abdomen, hips, and thighs. Actress Susan Sarandon recently admitted to having fatty pockets liposuctioned under her eyes and chin, but balked at having Botox injections out of a fear of looking unnatural.