Summary: Plastic surgery has always been quite popular, but that popularity changes from place to place. That is, one procedure that’s popular in New York might not be as popular in Los Angeles. The reasons for this are quite varied, and they can certainly be kind of interesting. One thing is for sure: plastic surgery from coast to coast can be both varied and consistent.
Looking at Plastic Surgery From Coast to Coast
Plastic surgery is one of the most rigorously regulated fields of medicine (which is saying something, because it’s not like there’s any area of medicine that is quite lax on regulation). There are several accrediting agencies and governing boards—that’s why it’s important to go to a surgeon that is “board certified,” after all. It’s a sign that the surgeon has been thoroughly vetted by that board.
While those agencies and boards are pretty standard across the country, that doesn’t necessarily mean plastic surgery is. I don’t mean to suggest that plastic surgery in New Jersey is somehow better than plastic surgery in Los Angeles. Rather, people in various areas tend to congregate towards certain procedures. Or, to put it another way, certain procedures become more popular in New York than they do in LA.
This is an interesting phenomenon, mostly because it both confirms and defies common sense. On the one hand, there is regional variability when it comes to just about anything. That’s why Dunkin Donuts is popular on the East Coast and Starbucks is popular out west. However, there are some things we expect to be relatively constant. Plastic surgery just might be one of those things.
What’s Popular Where
Once you accept that there are certain areas of popularity with certain procedures, the next question becomes, what’s popular where? This question is usually followed by a prompt, “and why?” It turns out there’s no simple answer to this question, but we can start to answer it.
Utah As an Example
A while back we wrote about how Utah was kind of like the breast augmentation capital of the United States. That’s not something that you would necessarily expect out of Utah, which has a strong Mormon population (not that Mormons and breast augmentation are at odds, just that they aren’t the closest to each other on a word association diagram).
There are a few reasons for this. First and foremost, Mormons generally marry young—and often feel intense pressure to marry. (I’m speaking in general terms—there are certainly exceptions to this.) There have been some suggestions that the spike in breast augmentation procedures is due to a desire to find someone to marry on the part of women in Utah.
This is, of course, problematic. There are many issues with this reasoning. But it does give you an idea of the types of local phenomenon that can propel the popularity of a given procedure.
East Coast Versus West Coast
When you look at the numbers, you come across some very interesting trends. First and foremost, rhinoplasty is exceptionally popular on the east coast. For whatever reason (and, honestly, there’s probably a matrix of reasons), nose jobs are incredibly popular on the east coast of the United States. Whether because of cause or effect, this has led to a concentration of rhinoplasty experts out east as well.
On the other side of the country (the west coast), Botox is among the most popular options for patients. Now, that’s not exactly fair because Botox is popular everywhere. It’s usually the number one procedure on any given list of procedures. But what makes the West Coast remarkable is the sheer amount of Botox injections given. It’s exceptionally popular out there.
Now, does that say anything about the East Coast and the West Coast? I’m not entirely sure, as there are all kinds of factors that can impact the popularity of these procedures.
What Does it All Mean?
Well, in a way, it all means nothing. That there are certain plastic surgery procedures that are popular here but not there is a reflection of the wide open market that is the United States. People are different, and they like different things. But more than that, it means that plastic surgery is pretty good at finding out what people like and ensuring they get that.
That might sound like a simple thing, but there’s enough variability that this is actually something of an undertaking. And what it really means is this: plastic surgeons are great listeners. Most people think about surgeons almost as “pushers,” trying to push this procedure or that on an unsuspecting public.
But I think the truth is the opposite. I think plastic surgeons see a need and then attempt to fill it, often through the process of innovation. Ultimately, I think the popularity of certain procedures varies largely because the people have different needs—and surgeons aim to fill those needs.