Plastic surgeons ask: What recession?

Despite the sluggish economy, the number of cosmetic and reconstructive surgeries performed rose from 2009 to 2010. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons reports increases in the number of cosmetic, minimally invasive, and reconstructive procedures.

Plastic surgeons were, of course, paid for those procedures. But their salaries varied by location. Salaries in the mid-Atlantic and Great Lakes regions stand out, according to the 2011 Medscape Physician Compensation Report.

The report says the median salaries in those regions are about 25 percent greater than the median — $270,000 — for all plastic surgeons in the nation.

In all other regions, the difference is no more than 10 percent above or below the median. The report says that these numbers do not seem to correlate with the number of cosmetic procedures performed, which is highest in the Western states. One contributing factor may be the wide variation in fees for cosmetic and reconstructive procedures.

In comparison, the same report highlights the median salary of internists by location. It says internists out west (California, Hawaii) had the highest median income, $188,000. By contrast, the internists in the Northeast (New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine), had the lowest median income, $150,000.

Geographic location and salary by specialty

Source: Medscape Physician Compensation Report: 2011 Results

Cosmetic plastic surgery statistics, 2009–2010

Source: American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Report of the 2010 Plastic Surgery Statistics

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