Shifting Trends in Plastic Surgery Procedures Over the Last Decade

Last Updated: February 08, 2013

The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) made a number of key predictions about cosmetic surgery trends in December 2011. Many were based on optimism that the U.S. economy would improve. That has not been the case, however, and the numbers for the last decade point to dramatic shifts in how people are seeking to improve or alter their bodies and overall appearance.

Non-invasive Cosmetic Procedures Grow in Popularity

The ASAPS primary projection was an upsurge in face lifts and similar rejuvenatory procedures concurrent with an improvement in the economy. In 2010, however, according to a separate professional group, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, more Americans were opting for breast augmentation, up about 39% over the decade, and breast lifts, up 70% for the same period.

The real upswing, however, was in non-surgical procedures, which will likely be the case for the upcoming years as well, since this approach to cosmetic enhancement is far less expensive and does not typically require a recuperation period. Botox is unquestionably the leader in non-surgical procedures, with 5.7 million injections performed in 2011, a meteoric 621% increase since 2000.

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2011 was a good year for cosmetic surgery overall, with 13.8 million procedures performed, up 5% from 2010.

War on Obesity and Cosmetic Surgery Join Forces

The ASAPS' predictions also specifically discussed a growing awareness of obesity in America, with more people achieving massive weight loss. Statistics bear out the fact that liposuction has fallen from favor, down 43% over the last decade. The new concentration is on long-term weight loss with diet and exercise.

Dramatic weight loss of this sort results in a problem of excess skin, which is increasingly addressed with abdominoplasty and body lifts, for instance the lower body or the upper arms. These surgeries can also, arguably, be classed as life and health enhancing and in some cases be covered in part by medical insurance, which is also a factor in their popularity.

Overview of Plastic Surgery Statistics 2000-2011

Overall, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) statistics show the following from 2000 to 2011:

  • surgical procedures declined 17%,
  • but total procedures were up by 6.4 million,
  • with minimally invasive procedures increasing 123%,
  • and overall procedures totaling 13.8 million in 2011 vs 7.4 million in 2000.

Procedures increasing in popularity included:

  • Botox injections up 621%,
  • breast augmentation up 45%,
  • breast lift up 72%, and
  • laser hair removal up 47%.

Procedures decreasing in popularity included:

  • breast implant removals down 45%,
  • nose jobs down 37%, and
  • facelifts down 11%*

*It should be noted, however, that 2011 was a good year for cosmetic surgery overall, with 13.8 million procedures performed, up 5% from 2010.

In 2011, there were also 5.5 million reconstructive procedures, an increase of nearly 5% from 2010. It is important to remember that not all cosmetic procedures are issues of vanity. Many of these surgeries are dramatic and miraculous corrections of or improvements to traumatic damage and thus greatly enhance the patient's quality of life.

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