Lehigh Valley

LVHN hosts cosmetic surgery open house

LVHN hosts cosmetic surgery open house

If you're looking to "get a little work done," you're not alone. Demand for cosmetic procedures is growing.  Now, hospitals are hoping to cut into plastic surgeons' business -- a trend they claim could save all of us money.

If your New Year's resolution is a new you, get in line.

"No doubt, more and more patients are coming to us for cosmetic work," said Dr. Randolph Wojcik Jr., a plastic surgeon with Lehigh Valley Health Network.  "Our percentage of cosmetic patients increases every year."

From Botox to breast implants, cosmetic procedures are hot.

"I see all age groups," said LVHN medical aesthetician Jennifer Anllo.  "I see men and women."

Now, hospitals are hoping to cash in on that growth.  Hospitals only performed 19 percent of all cosmetic procedures in 2012, according to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.  At an open house Thursday, LVHN hoped to lure patients from private doctors.

Anllo believes hospitals have a lot to offer cosmetic patients.

"We have a lot of doctors here that help me find the best products -- more medical-grade," she said.

The real attraction for some patients is that many procedures can now be done on their lunch break.  But the most popular procedures still require going under the knife.  According to the ASAPS, the most common is still breast augmentation, followed by liposuction, "tummy tucks," eyelid lifts, and rhinoplasty -- better known as a "nose job."

But are hospitals simply pushing unnecessary procedures? Wojcik insisted the demand is there -- regardless.

"We're not pushing it, we're just making people aware," he said.

And since plastic surgery patients pay out-of-pocket, Wojcik said boosting the bottom line could make procedures for the rest of us more affordable.

"When you have a service that will make money, they can bring in services in other areas [that might not be as profitable]," he said.

The question is, can more cosmetic surgery "peel" away at skyrocketing medical costs?

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