CHICAGO - The economy isn't the only thing that's sagging — so are faces, breasts and bellies as would-be cosmetic surgery patients increasingly opt against costly nips and tucks because of tough financial times.
Anecdotal reports and a recent unscientific survey from an industry trade group suggest many cosmetic surgeons have been seeing a drop-off in costly operations, some by as much as 30 percent or more.
Diane Lawyer, a software company manager in Atlanta, said belt-tightening has made her put off getting her eyes done, a procedure that would cost a few thousand dollars.
"I just can't justify that right now," she said.
Lawyer, 55, has started shopping at a discount grocery, rarely drives to save on gas, and loaned money to help keep her sister out of foreclosure.
"I lost $15,000 in the last two weeks on the stock exchange," she said, referring to her dwindling 401K plan.
Dr. Alan Gold, president of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, said that for the past year, sagging business has been the talk of cosmetic surgeons.
"Everybody talks about it, nobody really has any numbers, so we polled our membership," said Gold, whose suburban New York office is on Long Island.
Of about 700 doctors who responded to the April-May questionnaire, 53 percent said business is down, some by as much as 30 percent.