Sampling cosmetic surgery consumers

The German Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection funded a study of suppliers and customers of cosmetic surgery, examining market supply, the quality of surgery results and any needs for consumer-oriented political action. The low prevalence of cosmetic surgery made it clear that a multiple-mode approach was needed to engage sufficient qualified participants. As the intention of the study was to analyse not only demand but supply as well, the size of the market was estimated by a survey of all physicians and institutions offering cosmetic surgery. For that purpose, a sampling frame of all suppliers was built. Following that, a questionnaire was sent to 1,712 physicians and institutions covering the number, type, costs and risks of operations, as well as age and gender of their patients. Due to mistrust of the physicians, who expected negative consequences by the tax authorities, the response rate was lower than usual (8.8%). In examining demand issues, customer data were collected by a survey of 620 patients from all over Germany who had undergone cosmetic surgery between 2004 and 2006. The mix of data collection modes included face-to-face as well as telephone, online and postal surveys. The majority were completed using the online mode, which used a screening process with a covering question to define the target population. Postal questionnaires were used for patients of cosmetics who declared their willingness to participate in the study. Consumers of cosmetic surgery for the face-to-face interviews were identified randomly and participants were recruited for telephone interviews through approaches to chat rooms of patients.

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