Historically, the practice of plastic surgery revolved around recovery from accidents, injuries, and illnesses such as cancer. Over time, the practice has evolved to include a mixture of necessary repairs and elective procedures requested by individuals who want to change specific features.
More Elective Surgeries
Although there is still a consistent need for plastic and reconstructive surgery after illness or injury, the demand for elective surgeries has greatly increased over the years. Most practices have evolved to include a mix of traditional reconstructive procedures, procedures that involve modern and cutting-edge methods and elective procedures that are performed by request. With the popularity of social media, access to celebrities and the constant stream of information accessible to the public, elective procedures have become more popular than ever with both women and men.
In the past, a plastic surgeon typically performed procedures on most parts of the body without being highly specialized in one particular area. As elective surgeries became more popular, the demand for plastic surgeons increased. Due to the increase in the number of plastic surgeons, doctors started choosing to become more specialized in certain areas and open practices in a narrower field. Some surgeons prefer to work in a hospital setting or under a larger practice so they have access to insurance and other benefits. Others prefer to open their own practices in the more lucrative cosmetic surgery field due to the self-pay model of practice.
Plastic surgery used to be practiced solely in hospitals, but now many procedures are carried out in outpatient clinics and offices. Multiple surgeons often combine together to open up a freestanding practice as partners. In some areas, solo surgeons are able to utilize the outpatient centers owned by local hospitals for the actual surgeries.
Change in Marketing Methods
In addition to actual surgeries, many plastic surgeons offer practices that serve as a one-stop-shop for a variety of cosmetic needs. Some procedures, such as laser hair removal, injections or microdermabrasion, are performed by estheticians or other clinical professionals. Under this type of marketing method, plastic surgery procedures are often viewed as just another day at the spa. Whereas in the past a visit to a plastic surgeon involved a referral, the market is now so saturated with them that most actively advertise their services through commercials, billboards, and social media advertisements.
The demand for plastic surgery has led to a change in how plastic surgeons practice. What once served as a repair process after illness or injury has now become a lucrative industry involving elective procedures and free-standing practices.