By Stewart Gandolf
Chief Executive Officer
Hospital based plastic surgery, for many facilities, is experiencing something of a new-business rejuvenation. But what is surprising is that it’s not just the 30-something crowd that’s considering cosmetic procedures.
There’s a strong and growing interest among senior citizens who want a more youthful appearance. The marketing insight for physicians, administrators and hospital marketing professionals is that the over-65 demographic group is a demographic hot spot.
The economic downturn of recent years has been a financial challenge for elective and private pay procedures. But in spite of this, the retirement-age audience has tallied impressive numbers. Between 1997 and 2010, the number of surgical procedures among patients 65 and older increased a dramatic 352 percent, according to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS). (Data includes facelifts, cosmetic eyelid operations, liposuction, breast reductions, forehead lifts, breast lifts, and breast augmentations.)
These national stats aren’t exclusive to hospital procedures. So for a closer look, there’s an excellent overview article [here] about hospital plastic surgery business growth. It includes insight that’s drawn from leading medical facilities such as the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, Cleveland Clinic, University of Colorado Hospital in Aurora and several others.
Collectively, they identify four success factors in the admittedly highly competitive plastic surgery arena. These keys include, Increasing Awareness/Increasing ROI; Reorganization and Cohesive Communication; and Rhinoplasty. Perhaps the most interesting success key for hospital marketing and advertising is the growing interest [in cosmetic and plastic surgery] among “elderly.”
By the way, we wonder if the reporter’s term “elderly” is a bit of a misnomer in this context. Individuals in the 65+ categories are generally reluctant to think of themselves as old, aging or geriatric. These terms may be semantically correct, but it’s definitely not the vocabulary of most retirement age people, or the individual who wants to maintain a youthful look for personal or professional reasons.
Healthier and more active lifestyles and holding a younger self-image are some of the motivations behind the uptick in cosmetic procedures for this demographic group. “About 40 percent of the population over the age of 65—which amounts to more than 12 million Americans—is likely to undergo plastic surgery, and their numbers may increase,” according to the survey article. What’s more, “Patients 65 and older represent an increase in percentage of patients seeking cosmetic surgery and represent a source of increase in patient volume.”
This is an important demographic group, which from a healthcare marketing perspective represents a potential opportunity for a hospital to provide an answer to the needs of a growing sector of the community.