Park Avenue vs. Rodeo Drive: A Comparison of Patient Desires in America’s Two Most Coveted Aesthetic Markets

Stereotypes abound in plastic surgery about what patients in different locations are asking for and what plastic surgeons are delivering.  From natural enhancements to extreme makeovers, he leading plastic surgery markets in the United States have a long track record of innovating and setting beauty trends.  Two of the most notable markets are Park Avenue in New York City and Rodeo Drive or Los Angeles in general.  Tune in to hear Dr. Bass discuss some of the east and west coast innovations, patient preferences and plastic surgery styles.  Even though it’s fun to point out the stereotypes, Dr. Bass relates how thinking about them can help in planning your own plastic surgery care.


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Doreen Wu (00:00):
Welcome to another episode of Park Avenue Plastic Surgery Class, the podcast where we explore controversies and breaking issues in plastic surgery. This is your cohost Doreen Wu. And I’m here with Dr. Lawrence Bass, Park Avenue plastic surgeon, educator, and technology innovator. Today’s episode title is Park Avenue Versus Rodeo Drive: A Comparison Between Patient desires in America’s two most coveted aesthetic markets. Born and raised in New York City. I consider myself a native New Yorker, which means I know all about park avenue and whether it be from television, social media magazines, firsthand experience, et cetera, we’ve all seen and are familiar with the west coast luxury retail of Rodeo Drive in Los Angeles. Dr. Bass, tell me and our listeners what this has to do with plastic surgery.

Dr. Lawrence Bass (00:53):
So here we’re really using these two locations Park Avenue and Rodeo Drive as a proxy for New York City and Los Angeles in 21st century America, there’s excellent plastic surgery everywhere. Still, there are several hotbeds of plastic surgery that really stand above the rest. In terms of the high rate of utilization, the large number of highly qualified plastic surgeons and a reputation for innovation and leadership.

Doreen Wu (01:25):
Are there differences between what is being done in different cities? I’m curious as to what is the public perception of Park Avenue versus Rodeo Drive?

Dr. Lawrence Bass (01:34):
Well, before I answer that question, let me give a little bit of a disclaimer. We’re really talking about stereotypes. So I’m going to mention them mostly to debunk them. That being said, there are some style differences that are more common in one area or show up somewhere first, especially if it was innovated there, I’m not trying to offend anyone or criticize any particular approach. We can have some fun with the stereotypes and not take them too seriously. For starters, everyone likes beauty, but the conception of ideal beauty is individual. There are definitely regional differences in cultural differences, abounding everywhere, and all of these are equally valid. So if we think of Park Avenue or New York city, the luxury area in New York City or Rodeo Drive, but more properly, uh, a lot of the areas where the park, where the plastic surgeons reside in those areas in Los Angeles and Beverly Hills, we can make some comparisons. And as we talk about some of these, you ask yourself in your head, is this a New York city trend, a park avenue trend? Or is this a Los Angeles or Rodeo Drive trend? So early intervention on the face sometimes called rejuvenation, is that New York or Los Angeles?

Dr. Lawrence Bass (03:11):
Well, rejuvenation is really a Los Angeles phenomenon. It’s everywhere now and certainly present in New York city, but it started on the west coast and there are many trends in plastic surgery that have started there and then spread to the rest of the country office based surgery for cosmetic plastic surgery really started on the west coast and eventually trickled its way into the rest of the United States. Uh, prior to that surgery was largely done in the hospital setting, uh, big med spa facilities, uh, another example of things that started on the west coast and then landed up everywhere.

Dr. Lawrence Bass (03:54):
So talking about stereotypes in doing Botox, other neuromodulators like Xeomin, Dysport, Jeuveau, a very frozen look, west coast or east coast? The stereotype is that that’s more of a Los Angeles look. And, um, same thing with fillers, a very full look with fillers, an aggressive or near complete defacement of certain facial features is more of a west coast phenomenon. Now, certainly there are patients in the New York area who go very aggressively with fillers, but in terms of predominant outlook on what a desirable endpoint is, there are some differences here between the two coasts.

Doreen Wu (04:50):
From what I’ve gathered so far. Would it be accurate to say that there’s no such thing as the best city for plastic surgery? It really depends on your personal preference and goals.

Dr. Lawrence Bass (05:01):
Absolutely. As I said at the beginning of the episode, there’s excellent plastic surgery, everywhere, many, many very well trained plastic surgeons, unlike, uh, where we were in the United States, 40, 50, 60 years ago. There’s also very excellent plastic surgery education from the professional societies, like The Aesthetic Society and the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. This helps information get out there and techniques be up to date at the same time, there are style differences, and it’s important to find a provider, you know, whether you are going with or against the trend in the city you live in, or the city you’re being cared for in, uh, to get custom care with a provider who shares your view and is able to endorse it wholeheartedly and help you achieve goals.

Doreen Wu (05:58):
Going back to the stereotypes of the two cities we’re talking about today. Um, I agree with your perception. I think as a whole New Yorkers have a more natural approach where they want to look like themselves, but simply a little refined and boosted. Whereas in Los Angeles, people are more forthcoming about what they’ve done with plastic surgery and all of the different things they do to maintain and improve their appearance.

Dr. Lawrence Bass (06:23):
I, I think that’s right. The number one thing that patients ask me for when they’re seeking a treatment and their number one concern on Park Avenue in New York city, where I practice is this is I want to look like myself. I want to look natural. I don’t want anyone to know. Uh, I think that’s part of our Yankee Puritan heritage in the Northeastern United States. You know, everyone in the Northeast is doing Botox and fillers and plastic surgery, but they hardly ever tell anyone a few family members know and one or two very close friends, but they’re keeping it private. That’s very different than Southern California, where people really are very open about plastic surgery. They’re happy to show it off, tell their family or friends or even strangers. And it’s more of a status symbol having the, the means to get plastic surgery in Southern California than it is in the Northeast.

Doreen Wu (07:24):
And we talked briefly about differences in the face. What about the rest of the body like breast, for instance?

Dr. Lawrence Bass (07:31):
So breast is another big dividing point in plastic surgery in general, Northeastern patients want modest enhancement, little bit of upper pole filling, maybe enhanced cleavage. But the size is definitely a little bit more muted. Uh, I’d say most patients in the Northeas, and again, there are certainly individual exceptions to this, but most patients, if you look at the population average are looking to be a big B or a small C, and that just balances them in clothing. It enhances the female form without being overly obtrusive. In Southern California, it’s, you know, go big or go home and much larger size even in slim patients or patients with a thin frame is a much more common occurrence in implant size selection. And there’s no right or wrong here. It’s just a question of what seems desirable and attractive in the milieu or environment of, of that geographic region.

Doreen Wu (08:51):
So Dr. Bass, we’re both New Yorkers, you know what we’re like, you know what we want bottom line it for me, are the differences real or are they just hype?

Dr. Lawrence Bass (09:01):
Well, you know, at the end of the day, biology is the same in all human beings. Medical care is the same for all human beings. These are universal things. And, uh, don’t change from region to region at the same time though, there are personality differences, as we said, it’s different on average in these very different regions of the country, the lifestyle is different. The amount of time spent outdoors is different. How we get around is different. So that does make some differences in outlook between New York and Los Angeles. That being said, of course, as I pointed out before, there are individual exceptions to this, and there are lots of New York city and Northeast transplants living in the Los Angeles area that walk in with their preconceptions not having grown up in the area, the aesthetics and beauty standards, the way I think this is really useful, even though we kind of had fun a little bit with what people do to go to one end of the spectrum or the other on the east or west coast.

Dr. Lawrence Bass (10:18):
I think the stereotypes still have some utility for us because if you have a feeling I really need to have this feature pushed hard, then you know what direction feels right for you? And if you’re feeling natural is a good priority, you know, you need to go in that direction. So identifying and considering the stereotypes helps you in your decision making about your personal care. So in that way, it can actually be useful for us. And, uh, even though it may not apply in all circumstances. The other thing to remember is there are two very different jobs that we legitimately perform in plastic surgery. Every day, we do many, many things to restore or maintain appearance as we age or to prevent aging change. But we also do things to enhance appearance or alter appearance to make it more appealing. Beautiful, uh, in the, in the eye of the patient, based on their aesthetic goals. Those are two very different missions. They’re both important missions and they’re both central to plastic surgery, but when you’re coming in to get a treatment, or you’re asking about a feature on your face breast or a body, it’s really important to have clearly in mind, whether you’re trying to restore your appearance, bring it back to where it came from or whether you’re trying to alter your appearance so that you make sure you end up in the right place at the end of the day,

Doreen Wu (12:00):
That makes a lot of sense. This episode has given me and hopefully our listeners, a way to use these stereotypes constructively to aid in our decision-making. We’ll check in with Dr. Bass periodically in upcoming episodes to discuss plastic surgery around the country and the world. If you think of other places that have a reputation and a style, contact us by email or Instagram, and we would be happy to discuss them in a future episode. This is Doreen Wu, thanking you for joining Dr. Bass and me. I hope you had fun thinking about the park avenue and rodeo drive stereotypes, decide for yourself how much truth you think there is to them. Be sure to join us next time for our episode kiss and tell revealing all the ways plastic surgeons can beautify your lips, stream the episode or subscribe today so that you don’t miss any upcoming topics. Providing a critical look at the latest in plastic surgery.

Speaker 3 (12:56):
Thank you for joining us in this episode of the Park Avenue Plastic Surgery Class podcast with Dr. Lawrence Bass Park Avenue plastic surgeon, educator, and technology innovator. The commentary in this podcast represents opinion. This podcast does not present medical advice, but rather general information about plastic surgery that does not necessarily relate to the specific conditions of any individual patient. No doctor-patient relationship is established by listening to or participating in this podcast, consult your physician to advise you about your individual healthcare. If you enjoyed this episode, please share it with your friends and be sure to subscribe to our podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google, Spotify, Stitcher, or wherever you listen to podcasts.

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