WDAY: The News Leader

Published May 25, 2011, 08:53 AM

Plastic surgery operations on the rise in North Dakota

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - Doctors say, the recession has drastically cut down on plastic surgery across the country, except in North Dakota. Here, numbers are actually on the rise, enough to make plastic surgeons in California jealous. Surgeons say North Dakota's economy helps, but more so it's how surgery is done here, more discrete conservative operations.

Carita Shawchuck is in for a checkup with Dr. Ahmed Abdullah. She recently had a face lift.

CARITA SHAWCHUCK – Patient: "I aged a little bit and I became aware of surface wrinkles and especially the wrinkles around my eyes and wrinkles down in here. I didn't feel very comfortable with those."

Dr. Abdula says it's the reason most people take to the operating table. It's a confidence thing.

DR. AHMED ABDULLAH - Plastic Surgeon: "Why do you buy nice clothes why do you wear a nice shirt why do you wear jewelry why do you wear make up, why do people do that?”

CARITA SHAWCHUCK – Patient: "I just wanted a fresher look and its increased my confidence a lot."

Dr. Abdullah's practice has been here for 18 years, each year increasing the number of surgeries.

He says in an average week, he does 2 to 3 breast augmentations, a couple facelifts, and 1 to 2 tummy tucks.

DR. AHMED ABDULLAH - Plastic Surgeon: "People ask me, I go to my national meetings, what are you doing in Fargo North Dakota? And I say I have a practice that most of the Beverly Hills guys would be jealous of."

To give some perspective on how many surgeries are happening each week in Fargo or across the state, Dr. Abdullah is just one of 4 practices in Fargo. There are 5 in Bismarck, Grand Forks has two and another one Minot.

He says the reason you don't notice all of these surgeries on people is the patients and doctors do surgery the "Midwest way."

DR. AHMED ABDULLAH - Plastic Surgeon: "On the coast, if you get a facelift, you want people to know. I suspect so it’s got to look like Kenny Rogers or Cher or somebody like that."

Those Midwest conservative surgeries also drive down prices, here. Generally around town, Breast Augmentations run 6 to 7 thousand dollars. Face lifts from minor to major are 4 to 12 thousand and tummy tucks somewhere around 8 to 9 thousand dollars.

"Cosmetic surgery is not that hush, hush secret taboo thing it used to be. It's like affordable for everybody."

It worked for Shawchuck. Here is her before and after pictures. Her closest friends couldn't even tell she had surgery.

"People have said I just look a lot more rested. Otherwise I don't think people could tell that I’ve had a face lift they just think I look rested and look happy."

Dr. Abdullah says another trend. He has more men then ever coming in for procedures.