Economy, Boob Jobs Grow


"We, as plastic surgeons with the use of injectables, might be able to restore a nice crisp jaw line on someone who might have been a facelift candidate only and buy them a few years, or perhaps give them a better outcome, by just injecting once or twice a year," said Roth.

Reconstructive surgeries, including tumor removal, laceration repair, scar revision, hand surgery and breast reconstruction, also saw a 2 percent boost in 2010.

Breast reconstruction was up a significant 8 percent in 2010, but Haeck said that might not only be because of the economy.

On January 1, 2011, New York State passed a law saying that all patients who undergo a mastectomy for breast cancer must be informed of their reconstruction options by the hospital staff.

"This might set a trend around the country," said Roth." In the past, many women were not being given the reconstruction option by their surgeon who was talking about their cancer."

"We are now working closely with our colleagues in breast surgery so they know we're available to try and restore and enhance that woman, so they can look at their bodies and feel whole again," said Roth.

Under the Women's Health and Cancer Rights Act of 1998, health insurance companies and self-insured group plans that cover mastectomies must also cover the cost of breast-reconstruction surgery.

"I think people are more aware of breast reconstruction," said Haeck. "There is a cause and effect not necessarily related to the economy, but the push for education. As more states enforce this, we'll see the numbers grow."

But Roth said that many people are unaware of the required insurance coverage that goes along with the mastectomy, and if they are aware, they may feel uncomfortable with their choice to get reconstructive surgery.

"Women have been told their reconstructive options, but then they're told, 'You don't need to do that,'" said Roth. "Although the doctor or family member may try to be giving a positive message to the patient, she may feel like she's being vain or narcissistic if she were to choose reconstruction."

By working directly with oncologists to help women understand breast reconstruction, Roth and Haeck say they hope all women will feel comfortable talking with a plastic surgeon about their options after a mastectomy.

"Maybe the woman would choose not to have a reconstruction," said Roth. "But rather than her hearing from her loved ones, 'You don't have to do that, we'll love you anyway,' she can at least talk to a board-certified plastic surgeon about options. Ultimately, it's the woman's choice."

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