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Vanity may be the driving force, but the booming business of nonsurgical cosmetic treatments is anything but frivolous. In 2005, Americans spent more than $12.5 billion on cosmetic procedures, the majority of which were noninvasive, meaning no knife required. Thanks partly to greater exposure in pop culture–through TV shows like Extreme Makeover–the number of nonsurgical treatments has skyrocketed more than 764 percent since 1997, far outpacing the growth of plastic surgery. With baby boomers and more men looking for creative ways to slow the aging process, the “medical-aesthetic” economy–including device sales and doctors’ fees–could easily surpass $20 billion by the end of 2006. “There has been a dramatic move toward minimally invasive procedures,” says Shiu-Yik Au, an analyst at Millennium Research Group. “No one wants to sit out three weeks recovering. They want things done as quickly as possible.”

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