Canadians say they're doing research before cosmetic surgery



    - First consumer survey by Medicard Finance(R) identifies trends in
    decision-making -

    TORONTO, Nov. 20 /CNW/ - According to findings of a recent online survey
conducted by Medicard(R) Finance Inc. and Plastic Surgery Statistics Canada
(PLSS), Canadians that have had a cosmetic surgical procedure believe they
have adequately researched their options, have checked the credentials of the
physician or practitioner, are aware of the risks and would consider obtaining
more than one opinion before undertaking a procedure.
    The survey - the third wave of research conducted by Medicard and PLSS -
is the company's first to directly poll consumers about their attitudes
towards cosmetic enhancement including both surgical and non-surgical
procedures. Participants were drawn from industry-related consumer and trade
shows across Canada, with more than 2,000 sent an email link to the survey in
September 2007. Seventy-five per cent responded; 97 per cent were female
between 19 and 73 years of age, with an average age of 44 years.

    Are Canadians adequately researching their options?
    ---------------------------------------------------
    Canadians feel confident in their decision-making process about cosmetic
enhancement. The survey reveals that 80 per cent of respondents would research
their options before making any decision. Of those who have not had a
procedure, 72 per cent would not hesitate to seek cosmetic enhancement if they
did not like something about their appearance.
    "With the focus on training and credentials of practitioners within the
cosmetic enhancement industry now, one would expect consumers to research
their options," says Ann Kaplan, president and CEO of Medicard Finance Inc.
"My concern is how consumers are doing their research and if they know the
questions to ask. The industry needs to encourage consumers to understand the
necessary questions to ask in order to make good decisions."

    Are we doing enough research?
    -----------------------------
    The survey findings support Kaplan's concern. Of those surveyed, 86 per
cent sometimes or frequently watch reality TV shows involving cosmetic
enhancement and 23 per cent often discuss cosmetic enhancement procedures with
their friends. Interestingly, of those who do talk with friends or peers, 47
per cent believe peer opinion is not an important factor when making decisions
regarding cosmetic enhancement procedures.
    When asked, consumers cited the following methods of information
gathering when researching cosmetic enhancement: the doctor's office, magazine
articles, the Internet and reality TV.

    Who is doing the procedures?
    ----------------------------
    Canadians had strong opinions about "doing their homework" when it came
to choosing a physician, with 80 per cent claiming they always check the
credentials of the physician or practitioner. Their decision about who
performs a procedure is also influenced by both media (62 per cent) and the
quality of the facility (93 per cent) - whether an office, clinic or hospital.
Interestingly, 75 per cent of people consider the price of a treatment a
factor, while only 10 per cent do not. A strong number of consumers look to
friends for a recommendation or referral (59 per cent), yet despite the
influences of peers and the public, 79 per cent of respondents state they
would get more than one opinion before making a final decision. Seventy-seven
per cent would select a physician versus a non-licensed physician, even if the
alternative practitioner was experienced.

    The experience
    --------------
    Of the respondents surveyed, 20 per cent have had some type of cosmetic
surgery and 33.3 per cent have had a non-surgical procedure. Only 7.5 per cent
were not familiar with cosmetic enhancement procedures at all. Canadian
physicians are perceived as doing their job well, according to consumers.
    Ninety-one per cent said they were informed of the risks before a
cosmetic surgery procedure; following the procedure 79 per cent were generally
satisfied with the care they received. More than half (56 per cent) were
satisfied with the results of the procedure itself.

    Attitudes toward aging and cosmetic enhancement
    -----------------------------------------------
    Seventy per cent of consumers are "concerned" about aging while
33 per cent admit they actually feel "self-conscious" about the effects of
aging. More than half of respondents are concerned about the loss of volume in
their faces.
    This is mirrored in the open attitudes consumers now exhibit towards
cosmetic enhancement. Seventy-two per cent would not hesitate to seek some
type of cosmetic enhancement to change something they did not like about their
appearance and a further 46 per cent would consider surgery to change
something about their appearance. The majority of consumers (51 per cent)
would treat wrinkles, versus 30 per cent who stated they wouldn't.

    What are the barriers?
    ----------------------
    Given the openness of consumers toward embracing cosmetic enhancement to
deal with aging and one's appearance, what are the barriers that hold them
back?
    The Medicard and PLSS survey reveals the primary factors of consideration
are results, safety, costs, recovery time and pain. Fear of the unknown is a
factor for most consumers, with 78 per cent admitting if they knew they would
be guaranteed good results, they would be more comfortable with a procedure.
Equally, 76 per cent said if they knew the procedure was safe, they would
consider it while 74 per cent would consider some (or more) cosmetic
enhancement if cost was not an issue. Recovery time (57 per cent) and pain (53
per cent) round out the barriers consumers face when weighing their options.

    Enough is enough?
    -----------------
    With cosmetic enhancement consistently making the headlines, everyone has
an opinion, yet it appears divided. Of those surveyed, 40 per cent felt people
should "go for it" while 40 per cent believe too many people are getting
cosmetic enhancement procedures. Only 19 per cent believe one should age
without cosmetic enhancement.
    "Our survey results show that on the whole, Canadians are increasingly
interested in cosmetic enhancement procedures and believe they are adequately
doing their research and checking credentials beforehand," says Kaplan.
"Consumers should seek more than one opinion, research a physician's
credentials thoroughly and understand what those credentials mean. Seek out
specialists and request patient testimonials." She adds, "Our ultimate goal
should be to provide enough information so that people can consider all of the
factors in order to make an informed decision."

    About Medicard Finance Inc.
    ---------------------------
    Medicard Finance Inc. is Canada's number one exclusive medical procedure
finance company, headquartered in Toronto. Formed in 1996, it provides
health-related financing packages, information and services to Canadians for
elective medical procedures. It is offered in more than 4,950 physicians'
practices across Canada and more than 60 per cent of loans are directed to
cosmetic enhancement procedures. Employing a staff of 32, Medicard has
processed more than 200,000 credit applications to-date and has established
itself as an industry innovator. Plastic Surgery Statistics Canada is a
subsidiary of Medicard Finance Inc. and was created in 2004 to provide a
measurement of the growth of cosmetic enhancement in Canada. Prior, the
industry relied solely on American statistics. PLSS does not incorporate paid
advertising or physician endorsement. For more information, go to
www.medicard.com or www.plasticsurgerystatistics.com.

    
           Survey reveals trend shifts in consumer decision-making
           -------------------------------------------------------
    - Medicard(R) announces consumer stats for cosmetic surgery in Canada -


                         Demographics of respondents
                         ---------------------------

                   Average age: Range from 19 to 73 years

                     Average age of respondent: 44 years

                         Gender: 97 per cent female

             Marital Status: 49 per cent married or common law,
     36 per cent single, 15 per cent dating (committed but not married)

        Highest Level of Education: 60 per cent associates or bachelor
                 degree, 8 per cent post-graduate education,
                       3 per cent high school education

     Income: 23 per cent at $43,000 per annum, 12 per cent of respondents
         have an average income of $28,000 per annum and 6 per cent
                         make over $115,000 each year


                   How do Canadians research their options?
                   ----------------------------------------

     Research options before making decisions about cosmetic enhancement

                     80 per cent research their options

                             15 per cent never do


                  Discuss cosmetic enhancement with friends

                       23 per cent speak all the time

                             14 per cent never do


                           Watch reality TV shows

                      70 per cent sometimes watch shows

           16 per cent frequently watch reality TV shows involving
                             cosmetic enhancement

                             14 per cent never do


              Sources of information about cosmetic enhancement

                             The doctor's office

                              Magazine articles

                                 The Internet

                                 Reality TV


                          Peer opinion is important

                             47 per cent disagree

                              22 per cent agree


                 Choosing a physician or medical practitioner
                 --------------------------------------------

          93 per cent of people believe the quality of the facility
                   (office, clinic, hospital) is important

       80 per cent of people who have had treatments always check the
                     credentials of those treating them

         79 per cent of people would get more than one opinion before
                              making a decision

     77 per cent of people prefer a physician to treat them, even if the
                   person offering services is experienced

                     75 per cent of people shop on price

           10 per cent do not consider price as an important factor
                             in making a decision

       62 per cent of people say their decision is influenced by what
                            they see in the media

                 59 per cent of people look to a friend for
                         recommendations or referrals

            15 per cent look more to experience of a practitioner


                 About respondents and cosmetic enhancement
                 ------------------------------------------

            20.35 per cent have had some type of cosmetic surgery

     33.33 per cent have had some type of non-surgical cosmetic treatment


       91 per cent of the people who have had treatments say they were
                              informed of risks

               9 per cent of people were not informed of risks


       79 per cent were generally satisfied with the care they received
                            following a procedure

              8 per cent were not satisfied with follow-up care


             56 per cent of people that have had procedures were
                           satisfied with results

         22 per cent of people were not satisfied with their outcome


     Percentage that would not hesitate to change something they did not
     -------------------------------------------------------------------
                           like in their appearance
                           ------------------------

                                 72 per cent


               Percentage concerned about the effects of aging
               -----------------------------------------------

                    70 per cent are concerned about aging

                     5 per cent were not concerned at all

                       33 per cent are self-conscious

                     20 per cent are not self-conscious


         Percentage that would consider surgery to change something
         ----------------------------------------------------------
                             in their appearance
                             -------------------

                     46 per cent would consider surgery

                   13 per cent would not consider surgery


                Percentage concerned about facial volume loss
                ---------------------------------------------

             58 per cent are concerned about facial volume loss

           22 per cent are not concerned about facial volume loss


             Percentage that would consider cosmetic enhancement
             ---------------------------------------------------
                              to treat wrinkles
                              -----------------

                   51 per cent would treat their wrinkles

                     30 per cent would not treat wrinkles


                                   Barriers
                                   --------

     78 per cent of people are concerned about outcome and if they were
           guaranteed a good result, they would be more comfortable
                       considering cosmetic enhancement


        76 per cent of people said that if they knew a procedure was safe,
                   they would consider cosmetic enhancement


         74 per cent of people said that if cost were not an issue,
           they would consider (some or more) cosmetic enhancement


        57 per cent of people consider the recovery time an important
                 factor in considering cosmetic enhancement


         53 per cent of people said that if pain were not an issue,
           they would consider (some or more) cosmetic enhancement

                   3 per cent were not concerned about pain


                   Attitudes towards cosmetic enhancement
                   --------------------------------------

               40 per cent believe too many people are choosing
                       cosmetic enhancement treatments

             22 per cent do not feel too many people are choosing
                             cosmetic enhancement


                 40 per cent feel people should "go for it"

     19 per cent feel that people should age without cosmetic enhancement
    

    Note: Survey findings are available upon request at www.medicard.com
    or www.plasticsurgerystatistics.com.





For further information:

For further information: on Medicard Finance Inc. or the survey
findings, or to arrange an interview with CEO, Ann Kaplan, please contact
Susan Willemsen or Rebecca Kennedy at The Siren Group Inc., Tel: (416)
926-8087, Fax: (416) 926-9712, E-mail: info@thesirengroup.com

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MEDICARD FINANCE INC.

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