With reunions and other get-togethers scheduled during the holiday season, most people want to look their best at this time of year. For some, that means filling in those wrinkles with a bit of botox, or having a nip and tuck down here and there.
I'm a bit chicken myself, but I am curious. How many people choose to make subtle improvements with medical assistance? And how much does it cost?
The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery surveyed doctors and crunched the numbers for 2012, and came up with a list of the top 10 cosmetic procedures.
Top 5 non-surgical procedures
What is it? Botox is a brand name for a toxin from a bacteria related to botulism; other brand names include Dysport and Xeomin. Injected under the skin, this toxin blocks signals from the nerves to the muscles. The muscle can't contract, which softens wrinkles.
How many? 3,257,913 procedures reported in 2012
How much does botox cost?: $300-$1,200 per treatment, depending on amount and whether it is administered by a nurse, physician's assistant or doctor.
2. Hyaluronic acid-based filler
What is it? Found in soft connective tissue and the fluid surrounding your eyes, hyaluronic acid is a natural substance that is injected under the skin as a temporary filler for wrinkles (or injected into joints to ease arthritis pain). Brands: Captique, Esthelis, Elevess, Hylaform, Juvederm, Perlane, Prevelle, Puragen and Restylane.
How many? 1,423,705 treatments reported in 2012
How much do fillers cost? $300-$3,000 per treatment, depending on brand, doctor and area injected.
3. Laser Hair Removal
What is it? Unwanted hair is exposed to highly concentrated beams of light, destroying the hair follicle. It can take a few minutes to treat a small area like the upper lip, or several hours for a larger area, like the back or legs.
How many? 883,893 procedures reported in 2012
How much does laser hair removal cost? $75-$500 or more per treatment, typically for four or five treatments, depending on the area, amount of hair; and whether the procedure is performed by a physician's assistant, nurse or doctor.
What is it? Tiny, rough grains or crystals are sprayed on the skin to remove the outer layer, exposing a smoother, younger-looking skin. It's typically done on the face, chest, neck, arms or hands, to treat light scarring, discoloration, sun damage or stretch marks.
How many? 498,821 treatments reported in 2012
How much does microdermabrasion cost? $75-$100 per treatment, for five to 12 treatments about 2-3 weeks apart, plus periodic maintenance.
5. Chemical peel
What is it? A chemical solution is applied to the face, causing dead skin to slough off and eventually peel, revealing regenerated skin that is usually smoother and less wrinkled. Lactic acid or glycolic acid provide a light peel; a deeper peel requires a higher concentration of glycolic acid, retenoic acid or obagi blue (typically applied by a doctor or nurse).
How many? 443,824 procedures reported in 2012
How much does a chemical peel cost? $30-$100 or more for a light peel; $200-$400 for a deep peel.
Top 5 Surgical Procedures
1. Breast implants
What is it? Breast augmentation is a surgical procedure to increase the size, shape and fullness of a woman's breasts by inserting implants made of silicone or saline (or an alternative) under the chest muscles or breast tissue.
How many? 330,631 surgeries reported in 2012
How much do breast implants cost? $4,000-$10,000 or more total for both implants, anesthesia, surgeon and operating room fees.
What is it? A hollow instrument is inserted under the skin and used to break up fat and "suck" it from various parts of the body. Typical areas treated include the neck, chin, abdomen, thighs, buttocks, upper arms, calves and back.
How many? 313,011 treatments reported in 2012
How much does liposuction cost? $1,000-$7,500 or more per body part, depending on the physician's experience, the patient's size and the number of body parts being treated.
3. Tummy tuck
What is it? An abdominoplasty is surgery to improve the appearance of the abdomen by removing excess skin and fat. Typically the "girdle" of muscles holding in the internal organs is pulled tighter and stitched in place, extra skin is removed and the navel is repositioned.
How many? 156,508 surgeries reported in 2012
How much does a tummy tuck cost? $3,000-$8,500 or more total for the surgeon, anesthesiologist and operating room fees; and $4,000-$12,000 or more with an overnight stay.
4. Eyelid tuck
What is it? Called a blepharoplasty, this surgery repairs droopy eyelids by removing excess skin, muscles and fat. Cuts are made in the crease of the upper eyelid and below the lashes of the lower eyelid. Excess fat and tissue are removed or fat is redistributed to smooth out the eye area.
How many? 153,171 surgeries reported in 2012
How much does an eyelid tuck cost? $4,000-$5,500, including anesthesia, surgeon and operating room fees.
5. Nose job
What is it? A rhinoplasty is surgery to change the shape of the nose, either to alter its appearance, how it works, or both. Cartilage may be harvested from inside the nose or the ear for small changes, or from the ribs or other bones for larger changes.
How many? 143,801 reported in 2012
How much does a nose job cost? $3,000-$12,000 or more (for the surgeon, anesthesia and operating room fees), depending on the surgeon, the type and complexity of the surgical sculpture, and regional cost differences.
Clearly, the numbers show it is becoming much more commonplace to have a little "work" done. For me, I'm a bit fascinated by it all, but leery.