SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

Background

Cosmetic procedures, particularly those that are minimally invasive, are in demand. The physician specialties performing these procedures are not well-characterized.

Objective

To examine changes in the frequency of cosmetic dermatologic procedures performed in the United States from 1995 to 2010 and the physician specialties performing them.

Methods

The volume of cosmetic procedures performed by physician specialties and the types of cosmetic procedures performed were determined from data from the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NAMCS) from 1995 to 2010.

Results

Cosmetic procedures constituted 8.7% of all skin procedures and have increased since 1995 (p < .001). Botulinum toxin injections were the most frequently performed cosmetic procedure and increased at the greatest rate over time. Plastic surgeons performed the largest proportion of cosmetic procedures (36.1%), followed by dermatologists (33.7%), but other specialties have been performing an increasing proportion of cosmetic procedures. This study was limited to the provision of outpatient procedures, and the nationally representative data of the NAMCS is subject to sample bias.

Conclusions

Plastic surgeons and other physicians performed the majority of outpatient cosmetic procedures. Dermatologists performed one-third of ambulatory cosmetic procedures from 1995 to 2010. This broadening spectrum of physicians and nonphysicians providing cosmetic procedures may have important implications for patient safety.