Trends in Plastic Surgery

Data shows continuing growth in plastic surgery cosmetic procedures.


Plastic surgery was once considered just another term for a facelift, but that may be changing.

Data from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) indicates cosmetic procedures are growing in number. New treatments allow patients to focus on a particular area of the body and many are procedures that can be performed in a doctor's office.

According to the report, 15.9 million surgical and minimally-invasive cosmetic procedures were performed in the US in 2015. Total procedures have risen 155 percent since 2000.

"While more traditional facial procedures and breast augmentations are still among the most popular, we're seeing much more diversity in the areas of the body patients are choosing to address," ASPS President David H. Song, MD, MBA, FACS, said in a press release. "Patients have more options than ever, and working closely with their surgeon, they're able to focus on specific target areas of the body to achieve the look they desire."

Lifts used to tighten sagging skin or muscles are the most popular group of surgical procedures. Although face lifts lead the pack, breast lifts are also much more common. They are followed by upper arm lifts, lower body lifts and buttock lifts.

For the first time, however, the top five surgical procedures don't include face lifts. The top five for 2015 included breast enlargements, liposuction, nose reshaping, eyelid surgery and tummy tucks. Buttock surgeries, however, are the fastest-growing surgical procedures.

Minimally invasive procedures, so-called because they don't require surgery, are much more common than surgical procedures. These procedures can usually be performed in a doctor's office and take only an hour or two. They may not require any time off work.

Botox injections lead the list in this group, followed by soft tissue fillers which are also injected. The remaining procedures in the top five are chemical peels, laser hair removal and microdermabrasion, which “sandpapers” the skin to make it smoother.

"The number of available providers, lower costs and the less-invasive nature of these procedures obviously appeal to a much broader range of patients," Dr. Song said. "However, we urge anyone who is considering a minimally-invasive procedure to consult with a board-certified, ASPS-member surgeon."

Although cosmetic surgery is typically seen as female dominated, men are beginning to make inroads in some areas. Men now make up 40 percent of breast reduction surgeries.

Breast reconstruction after mastectomy is also growing, thanks in part to an ASPS campaign to educate women about their options.

"Before you undergo any procedure, do your homework and make sure you're putting yourself in the hands of only the most qualified and highly-trained expert available," Dr. Song said.