Plastic surgery used to be for the coastal elite — from the Hollywood starlet to the dog-in-purse toting Manhattan socialite. It certainly wasn’t a Midwestern option, nor was it for the middle class.

That, however, has changed.

Clinics, like the Plastic Surgery Group of Northern Kentucky, have sprung up throughout the traditional fly-over states, feeding the demand of patients who want to look their best.

“There has been a general shift within the last three to four years,” says Jackie Bryan, spokeswoman for the Crestview Hills practice that opened its doors in 2001. “People, particularly baby boomers, are competing against younger people in the workplace. They’re also living healthier lives. They want to look as good on the outside as they feel on the inside. And as the procedures have become more affordable, more people have considered it.”

Men Join the Demand

That includes men, who are becoming increasingly open to a nip or tuck. They comprise almost 10 percent of those seeking plastic surgery nationally, a number that is rising along with overall demand.

According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, there’s been a huge increase in plastic surgery procedures since 1997 — 150 percent. Fueling the explosion of nearly 9.3 million procedures in the $11 billion industry has been the rise of non-invasive procedures for both men and women, everything from injectable treatments like Botox and collagen to laser skin treatment.

“They’re big business for us,” says Bryan. “They’re less expensive than surgical procedures for one thing. And, while they may not be as permanent as the surgical option, you can quickly accomplish the same results.”

At around a sixth of the price of their surgical counterparts, injectables’ results are immediate. Botox, one of the most popular, reduces frown lines, crows feet and other signs of aging. Dermal fillers, like collagen, restore youthful fullness to skin and lips. Other non-invasive procedures include chemical peels and Dermabrasion, which remove damaged, outer levels of skin.

High-tech Laser

Still another option, a bit more high-tech, is laser therapy. Ideal for the treatment of sun-damaged skin or hair removal and unsightly “spider veins,” laser therapy can also remove brown spots, fine lines, wrinkles and other blemishes in less than an hour. A new wrinkle in cost-effective skin treatment, the Plastic Surgery Group invested in a DOT Laser a few months ago.

“Lasers are the newest thing. They can rejuvenate skin and tighten it where it’s needed. It can diminish blemishes. It’s painless. Patients are very happy with the results,” Bryan says.

Taken together, injectable therapies and non-invasives add up to about a third of all plastic surgery procedures annually, according to the ASAPS. The most popular procedures, the organization says, are still in the surgical line — breast augmentations, “tummy tucks” and liposuction.

Bryan says the Northern Kentucky trends run the same.

But she also cautions that plastic surgery and other procedures may not be for everyone. Patients are encouraged to consult their doctor. At the Plastic Surgery Group, the practice’s doctors — Dr. Robert Hummel, Dr. Gene Ireland and Dr. Richard Williams — provide free consultations to patients before any procedure. Education and counseling are an important part of treatment at the clinic, Bryan adds.

“It’s important for patients to sit down with a doctor and talk about what exactly they hope a procedure will do for them, and whether that goal is realistic,” she says. “It may or may not be achievable.”