CONTACT: JENNIFER CRONIN
2130 Medical Laboratories
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 335-5661; fax (319) 335-9917
Release: April 14, 1999
UI plastic surgery World Wide Web site reaches 100,000
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Want more information about a facelift?
Check out the University of Iowa plastic surgery World Wide Web site.
The site -- http://www.surgery.uiowa.edu:80/surgery/plastic
-- is a popular resource for people seeking information on various cosmetic
and reconstructive surgeries. Designed to be a patient education tool, the
site just reached 100,000 hits in little more than a year.
Site creator and UI plastic surgeon Albert E. Cram, M.D.,
professor of surgery, orthopaedic surgery and otolaryngology, could not be
more pleased with the response.
"It is great to know that we are providing people with
the information they need," Cram said. "Patients considering cosmetic surgery
often are reticent to talk to their local physicians. In the past, they often
got their information from supermarket tabloid magazines. With our site, people
can get up-to-date information they can trust."
Cram originally created the site in 1995 but did not put
a counter on it until last year. Since that time, the number of daily hits
has ranged from 50 to 400. In addition to providing information on procedures
such as breast augmentation and reduction and facelifts, the site also asks
viewers to voluntarily fill out a questionnaire as they browse the topics.
"Oftentimes, we think we know what people need to know
about," Cram said. "But this survey helps us to really find out what information
they need and want."
The site generates a fair amount of e-mail as well. Many
people write asking questions about procedures and what they should look for
in plastic surgeons. Occasionally, the responses lead to patients for Cram,
such as one individual from Central America and another from the Middle East.
Both people, after visiting the site, decided to have their procedures done
at the UI Hospitals and Clinics.
The UIHC created the Division of Plastic Surgery in 1987.
When it started, the program primarily offered reconstructive procedures with
only a small number of cosmetic cases; however, as the staff has grown from
one to four, the cosmetic surgery volume has increased exponentially. The
surgery staff now averages 10 reconstructive cases and eight cosmetic procedures
Cram said the craze to trim this, add that and reshape
any problem area is due primarily to the large number of aging baby boomers.
These individuals, wanting to remain competitive professionally and socially
with Generation Xers, have placed an emphasis on looking their best. Plastic
surgery is one way they can defy the aging process.
Cram also pointed out that
plastic surgery is becoming an option for everyone and is no longer limited
to the rich and famous.
"The average income level for someone having a procedure
is something like $45,000," Cram said. "People are willing to pay to look
younger and better. With Americans spending $16 billion a year on over-the-counter
cosmetics, it is obvious that appearance is something people care about. Plastic
surgery is just another way for them to achieve their goal."
As for the Web site, Cram said he plans to continually
add information in response to requests that he receives and as new procedures
"The beauty of this educational effort is that you can
update it continually instead of waiting for the next edition of a book to
come out," he said. "I hope to make this site into a global resource."