Skip to main content

Part 1: A Tale of Two Cities – I’m Booked Out for Six Months. My Patient Pipeline Is Drying Up?

June 27, 2022 in Internet Marketing, Marketing

Arrows showing upward trends

Published by: Dana Fox, Director of Client Strategies, Bree Daily, Managing Editor and Strategist

7 Minute Read:

At Plastic Surgery Studios, we’ve been talking with our clients from New York to Alaska, and their stories are the same from coast to coast. 

None of us had any idea how we would weather the Pandemic, and, to our surprise, most of us made it through with flying colors. To everyone’s amazement, plastic surgery revenue skyrocketed as the country reopened its doors for business, far surpassing what anyone could have anticipated. 

Surgery schedules were booked out for months, and our clients struggled to accommodate everyone who wanted appointments.  

While this phenomenon is still true today and bookings continue to be strong, the unknown looms over our heads, leaving us with one question: How long can this success last?

Unprecedented Times Led to Unexpected Numbers

The beginning of the Pandemic saw the temporary closing of doors across all industries. Aesthetic and plastic surgery was no different. 

Appointments were canceled and surgeries were postponed indefinitely. At this time, plastic surgeons had every reason to be concerned about their practice’s future; however, unexpectedly, the opposite proved true. 

Once doors reopened, business flooded back as new terminology took hold. The “Zoom Boom” increased interest in facial rejuvenation surgeries, the “Quarantine 15” to body sculpting treatments.  

On top of that, everyone was getting stimulus checks without having anywhere to spend those funds. Travel was down, manufacturing (from furniture to cars) was backed up, and entertainment options were limited. This extra cushion led many to prioritize themselves and their appearances.

The Pendulum Must Swing Back 

Infographic showing plastic surgery growth in 2021 versus previous years.

For years, surgical and non-surgical cosmetic treatments have seen steady growth. According to research from The Aesthetic Society (going back as far as 2016), the most growth seen in any year was 21%. 

While this growth is impressive, it is nothing compared to the 54% surgical and 44% non-surgical growth seen in 2021. 

No wonder everyone was so ecstatic!

However, we need to take a reality check. Once a pendulum starts to swing, it goes up very quickly and abnormally high. We saw this with our clients’ increased revenues — as did our marketing competitors. We couldn’t keep websites on the shelf. 

Our physician clients were spending money on all types of marketing at record rates. And this growth wasn’t limited to the aesthetic industry. Real estate, travel, and home improvement — just to name a few — all saw similar numbers.  

But the law of nature prevails, and the pendulum must swing back just as far as it swung up.

This is where we come in to share some marketing ideas on how you can maintain your momentum.

Welcome to the New Normal 

In some areas of the country, which we speculate may be industry related, we are hearing questions from surgeons like, What happened to all those patients who were calling last year? Where did they go? Did everyone who wanted a surgery procedure already have one? 

However, this is not the case everywhere, and some regions of the country still see business at an all-time high.

At Plastic Surgery Studios, our new normal started to show up around last April in alignment with news networks beginning to talk of recession and predictions of economic woes.

So, what can this mean for you?

Sue Dykema, Executive Director at The Aesthetic Society, and Debi Toombs, Senior Director of Meetings and Education at The Aesthetic Society, shared a few insights from their members.  

  • No one is talking about fear of revenue declining, and many of their members are still booked out for 3 to 6 months with revenue increasing. However, there is the question of how long this will last. There may be a sock-it-away mentality so that they can ride out the storm when the recession hits. Those socking it away would apply to patients and surgeons alike as stock portfolios trend downward. 
  • Many of their members are using more patient financing than before, and while many patients do not necessarily need financing, they say, “I prefer to finance rather than use my cash.”  
  • Two camps are trending on retirement. While some rushed to retire as soon as they hit 62, others have begun to postpone retirement until well after 65. Some who have retired said they were bored and missed their staff and patients equally. They craved the work environment over staying home, stating, “One can only golf and play bridge so much!” 
  • Some younger surgeons are jumping into injecting instead of going the once “normal” route by establishing themselves with reconstructive surgery and then segueing into aesthetics.

In a recent press release, Allergan™ projected that the demand for injectables would increase dramatically, and they expect the need to train 12,000 new injectors per year. 

Combine this with the rise of new med spas and non-MDs and investor groups coming into the med spa space, and you can see where the new growth will come from.

Swinging pendulum against blue.

Here Are Just a Few of the Key Findings of 2020 – 2021 Aesthetic Plastic Surgery Statistics:

Following a year in which many practices closed temporarily and reduced hours, Aesthetic Plastic Surgery surged in 2021. 

  • The average plastic surgeon performed 320 surgical procedures in 2021, compared with 220 in 2020.
  • On average, the cost of a surgical procedure increased by 6% in 2021, and the cost of a non-surgical procedure increased by 1%.
  • Surgical procedures accounted for 69% of all revenue, despite being just 21% of total procedures.
  • Women accounted for approximately 94% of all procedures.
  • There were 365,000 breast augmentations performed in 2021 (+44%). In addition, 148,000 women had implants removed and replaced (+32% from 2020), and 71,000 had their implants removed and not replaced (+47%).
  • Body procedures increased more than any other section (+ 63% vs. 2020), led by jumps in liposuction procedures (+66%) and abdominoplasties (+ 49%). 
  • Due to the continued “Zoom Effect,” facial procedures increased by 55% in 2021.

These marked increases saw Americans spending over $14.6 billion on aesthetic procedures in 2021, with surgical revenues increasing by 63%

A Historical Conclusion

We are in uncharted territory, and any company that thinks they have all the answers is kidding themselves and their clients, including us. 

What we can tell you is that this is time for an honest assessment of your practice, your personal attributes, your staff’s likeability and customer service, your website and social media presence, and patient feedback, both good and bad. 

As good as things have been the last year or so from pent-up people being released back into the economy, there will be recoil. How you approach your practice growth and your marketing consistency are second only to making sure you are as authentic and transparent as you can humanly be.  

Gone are the days when you can look and sound just like the plastic surgeon next door and be found or sought after.  

We see patients looking for genuine people to buy from, whether it is surgery or laser skin resurfacing. 

When working with practices on rebranding, everything we do is to discover exactly who the doctor is and why they are uniquely special and desirable. In addition to their training, why should I go to this doctor over another

We know this may sound simple but believe us when we tell you that this is very hard, it takes time, and we must dig for the good stuff, the unique and compelling story behind every client. But, trust us, it is worth it. 

The following two blogs in our series will describe what we see working for aesthetic practices and what we predict the future may hold for you. We will also provide some case studies and talk about some missed opportunities in niche procedure marketing in underserved patient groups. 

To end as we began, here is how Dicken’s might have assessed our recent history. 

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity … The future is ours to define.

Have You Noticed a Shift in 2022?

If you are coming off a successful 2021 and hope to continue the trend, there are solid practices that can help you do so. 

Contact the team at Plastic Surgery Studios today by calling (888) 525-6360 or filling out the contact form below.

Let's have a conversation

(909) 758-8300

8659 Haven Avenue Suite 200
Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91730

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.