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The Business of Perfection

Buying your way to beauty

By Michael Wayland

around the world, elective medical procedures to enhance one’s beauty are a booming business.  At first look, one may be tempted to believe this is an artifact of a capitalistic culture, such as the United States.  This is not the case though.  Even in countries with socialized medicine, such as Great Britain, the business is booming.

It may seem strange to talk about medicine and business in the same sentence but throughout the world they are one in the same.  Michael Sullivan, Professor of Health Care Administration and Director of the Health Care Administration Program at Methodist University in Fayetteville NC, say’s, “ to understand it, you have to think of health care as a business, just like any other business.  If you want to grow your business, you have to expand your product offering”.  Elective medical procedures do just that.

In Great Britain, Transform is the leading cosmetic enhancement business.  They claim that they “carry out more cosmetic surgery procedures annually than any other UK company”. Notice that they say “company”.  Transform has 22 clinics and 2 hospitals and claims a 96% customer satisfaction rate.  Their procedures include the typical breast and buttocks implants and extend to more obscure procedures like arm lifts.  Financing is a significant part of their business model.  By offering zero percent financing for twelve months, they have an attractive marketing ploy,  and by offering higher interest rates for longer term financing they have an income source from interest payments that also happens to expand the market by making the procedures available to virtually everyone. 

According to a report recently released by the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), cosmetic procedures were up 8 percent in the US in 2007, driven primarily by men.  For men, the rate was up 17 percent.   In Britain, Transform reports a similar increase for men, with Botox wrinkle reduction leading the way, up fifty percent.  Male Botox procedures in the US numbered 329,519, almost double the next leading procedure, laser hair removal (185,684 procedures) and obscuring the least frequent but more heavily advertised hair transplant, which only had 16,491 procedures. 

The ASAPS report indicates that women still are the primary market for cosmetic procedures in the US.  Women accounted for 91 percent or 10.6 million cosmetic procedures. This number was an increase of only one percent from the previous year though. None the less, since 1997, women’s surgical procedures have increased 142 percent, while nonsurgical procedures were up 743 percent.

Top surgical and nonsurgical cosmetic procedures among men and women in USA in 2007:

Top cosmetic procedures for WOMEN
# procedures
# procedures
Breast augmentation
  Hyaluronic Acid
Eyelid surgery
  Laser Hair Removal
Breast Reduction
  IPL Laser Treatment
Top cosmetic procedures for MEN:
# procedures
# procedures
  Botox injection
Eyelid surgery
  Laser hair removal
Male breast reduction
  Hyaluronic Acid
Hair transplantation
  IP laser treatment

Although women still account for the lion’s share of procedures, men are clearly the growth market for this industry.  Men’s desire to look younger, stronger and fitter is expanding as society accepts cosmetic procedures and demands a higher level of perfection from men.  Given the flattening market for women’s cosmetic procedures, one can expect heavy marketing toward men in the next decade and a corresponding increase in the number of male procedures.  Business needs growth, and men hold the key to that now.  The business of perfection will march on.


Michael Wayland

Michael Wayland

Michael is a professor at Methodist University in Fayetteville NC where he teaches Business Policy and Strategy. Michael is also a Civil and Domestic mediator. His specialty is Divorce Mediation. Michael believes that trial based divorce is the most destructive and out-dated way for a couple to divorce. He is a strong advocate of Divorce Mediation, and often cites Chief Justice Warren E. Burger, (Ret.) U.S. Supreme Court who said, "Traditional litigation is a mistake that must be corrected... For some disputes trials will be the only means, but for many claims trials by adversarial contest must in time go the way of the ancient trial by battle and blood. Our system is too costly, too painful, too destructive, too inefficient for really civilized people." Michael’s overwhelming objective is to assist divorcing couples in reaching a fair out of court settlement that achieves all of their goals, is cost effective, quick, non-adversarial, protects the best interests of the children, and the parties will be comfortable living with. If you have children, high conflict court litigation most likely will affect them for the balance of their lives. If you don't have kids, it will still wear on you. Michael wants to help you avoid that. Michael will travel across the country to mediate and has offices in Columbus OH and North Carolina.

Michael can be reached at

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