As the U.S. economy continues to move ahead, demand for cosmetic surgery is also on the rise.
A new study finds that the number of Americans seeking cosmetic surgery has grown as the economy has rebounded. Women are feeling more confident about spending, so they're investing in their appearance, fighting the sags and bags.
CBS News correspondent Michelle Miller reported on "The Early Show" this could be a sure sign the recession is over. Many who spent the last two years pinching pennies at the pump, clipping coupons, even eating out less are now spending more in an unexpected way -- on pampering and plastic surgery.
Miller reported that, until recently, fixing her nose seemed financially risky for thirty-eight year old Shadia Crandall.
Crandall told Miller, "The economy was really dicey, and with two kids, a mortgage, tuition, food. I had priorities, and it was scary."
As the economy hit the skids in 2008, cosmetic procedures took a nose dive.
Plastic surgeon Dr. Jason Diamond said, "When the economy first took a downward turn, the plastic surgery community as a whole basically shut down. People were down 50 percent, and were just struggling to get by."
But with the economy continuing to rebound, people across the country are again splurging on beauty, from wrinkle-reducing injections to plastic surgery.
Cassie Porter, a plastic surgery patient, said it was "really hard" to put off her surgery.
"I wanted to do it for a really long time," she said.
Porter said, "Recently things have been looking up, and I'm doing well in business, so I've decided it's time to give myself a treat."
Porter, a 35-year-old jewelry designer, saved and struggled through the recession. Now she can finally afford to get the nose she wished she'd been born with.
And she's not alone. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, 13.1 million cosmetic procedures were performed last year. That's a five percent increase from 2009. More than five million people opted for Botox injections in 2010. Another two million requested facial fillers.
Vickie Benko, 51, waited until her company layoffs were behind her before going ahead with a brow lift and tightening her upper and lower eyelids.
"I waited to have plastic surgery for about three years, due to the economy," Benko said. "And that was a scary time. I didn't know if I was going to have a job."
To some, cosmetic surgery may be a luxury item. Not so for these women who, in the end, aren't willing to put a price on looking their best.
Benko says of her surgery, "I look more rested, I look more energetic. It was a good investment."
"I see a confident woman who smiles every time I get the opportunity," Crandall said, "so I absolutely love it."
On "The Early Show" Dr. Yan Trokel, a busy New York plastic surgeon, talked with co-anchor Erica Hill about how business is changing.
He said, "With the economy now rebounding, we're actually seeing more people scheduling for consultations. But more importantly, not only are they scheduling, they're going ahead with the procedures."
Trokel said more people are coming in for liposuction, face-lifts and full makeovers.
"I would see patients like nine months ago, and they would just come in for the consultation," he explained. "Now they're coming back in, they're actually going ahead with the procedures."
He added, "Nine months ago they would come in, they would say, 'Doctor, is there anything I can do just to get by? Give me that little Band-Aid. A little Botox, a little filler. It went a long way.' Today they're coming in and saying, 'I'm ready for the full surgery. I want to look great. I feel great. I'm back in the game. I feel better economically, financially, and please, what can I do to make me look better?"'
But what should someone who is considering plastic surgery think about when they decide to meet with a surgeon?
Trokel said knowing a doctor's credentials are very important, as well as the look of the surgeon.
"Look at the doctor," he said. "Plastic surgery is an art. You need somebody that has good eyes and good hands -- a good artistry. Make sure they have the same vision as you, and that they can actually perform the procedure you want. Look at the before and after pictures. Speak to the people that they've worked on. Look at their work. That tells you more than anything else."
Hill joked, "And, of course, if anyone doesn't want to show you their work that should be a red flag?"
Trokel said, "Huge red flag. Especially if they only have one case to show. Let them show you a lot. If they don't want to show you the work and they say, 'Oh, just believe me,' head for the door."
Plastic surgery is expensive. But is there a way you can strike a deal with your surgeon?
Trokel says going with multiple procedures at once can actually help save money.
"Think about it, you pay the surgeon's fee. But when you're doing your face, your nose, and maybe a little body work, you're only paying one anesthesia fee and one surgical center fee," he said. "There you go, you come out ahead."