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According to this Survey on Aesthetic/Cosmetic Procedures Performed in 2011 by the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, these were the top five countries for plastic surgery procedures in 2011:
1. United States (3,100,000)
2. Brazil (1,447,000)
3. China (1,050,000)
4. Japan (952,000)
5. Mexico (794,000)
The Economist adjusts for population and reports the top five countries for plastic surgery procedures per 1,000 population (figures are estimated from The Economist chart below), and the top five list is quite different:
1. South Korea (13.25)
2. Greece (12.25)
3. Italy (11.75)
4. United States (9.95)
5. Colombia (7.95)
MP: A few other issues regarding plastic surgery:
1. Because cosmetic surgery is rarely covered by insurance, patients typically pay 100% “out-of-pocket” for those procedures, unlike most other medical procedures. Consumers are therefore price-sensitive and may compare prices offered by different surgeons/clinics, which introduces competitive, market pressures and transparent pricing that don’t exist in most other areas of healthcare. As expected, the market forces for cosmetic surgery provide incentives for providers to act competitively, which has resulted in a decline in the real cost of cosmetic surgery over time (see chart below):
According to a 2007 study by Devon Herrick and John Goodman: “From 1992 to 2005, a price index of common cosmetic surgery procedures rose only 22 percent while the average increase for medical services was 77 percent; overall, prices for all goods increased 39 percent (see chart above).”
2. The increased affordability of cosmetic surgery over time, reflected in a six-fold increase in procedures between 1992 and 2005, is another example of how services provided in competitive markets by private firms get cheaper and cheaper over time, leading to increases in our standard of living. The increased affordability of cosmetic surgery is another example of why the “good old days” are now, and not the 1950s or 1970s or some other period in yesteryear.
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