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Could the economic downturn actually be enticing consumers to spend more money on big ticket non-essentials like cosmetic surgery? Possibly, says a study released by San Diego’s Suneva Medical, a company “focused on developing, manufacturing and commercializing novel, differentiated aesthetics products for the dermatology, plastic, and cosmetic surgery markets.”

64 percent of 160 doctors surveyed report a shift in behavior over the last several years, notably that consumers are willing to pay considerably more up front for long-lasting procedures than three years ago.

“We have seen a tremendous uptick in the number of patients pursuing less invasive rejuvenation procedures over the past few years but patients are being more careful about what treatments they undertake,” says plastic surgeon Z. Paul Lorenc. “With consumer confidence in the U.S. as low as it is, this survey points to a real trend among patients making smart decisions when it comes to fighting the signs of aging.”

Almost 9.5 million cosmetic procedures, both surgical and non-surgical, were performed in 2010. Women received the lion’s share of treatments, about 8.6 million to 750,000 for men. The number of treatments involving surgery was up 9 percent from the year earlier.

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