The Popularity of Cosmetic Surgery
Cosmetic Surgery Trends
The recent rise in popularity of elective cosmetic surgery has been dramatic over the past 10 years. Indeed, the statistics are staggering, with 13.8 million cosmetic procedures being performed in 2011. This reflects a whopping 87% increase in patients undergoing procedures from 2001-2011, despite the flagging economy. A common misconception is that California is the leader of these numbers. But in fact, all of the western states together (California including 12 others) are responsible for only 28% of these procedures. The U.S. east coast actually comprises 43% of the total 13 million procedures. My patients are very surprised when I share that statistic with them. This indicates a truly nationwide involvement in the practice of enhancing ones’ appearance.
Which Cosmetic Surgery Procedures are Most Popular?
Despite the large numbers of recorded procedures, the vast majority (12.2 million of the total 13.8 million) are considered minimally invasive, with Botox injections and fillers (Restylane/Juvederm) leading the way. More invasive cosmetic surgical procedures account for the remainder, with the top five being breast implants/augmentation, rhinoplasty (nosejob), liposuction, eyelid rejuvenation, and facelift (in that order). What these statistics reveal is actually a widespread shift in our culture. What was once considered secretive and restricted to the select rich and famous is now more widely accepted. Patients today are often outwardly spoken about their procedures. They are more likely to share their experience with their friends, family, and co-workers. This open discussion “de-mystifies” the experience, making the prospect of any procedure less frightening.
Another cause for this cultural shift is that many career-minded individuals see these procedures as a necessary investment for career advancement. While most surgeons stress that having surgery does not guarantee a job promotion, patients find that their self-confidence and self-perception are boosted, and this often reflects in their workplace. Furthermore, more Americans find that minimally invasive procedures are more affordable, and allow them to enhance their appearance without considerable recovery. This allows a way to “experiment” with cosmetic surgery before committing to more drastic procedures.
However, widespread popularity in the media, especially with the last decade’s trend in “reality entertainment,” tends to de-emphasize any risk involved. Keep in mind that these are still surgical procedures each with limitations, even in the best surgical hands.
(Data Source: American Academy of Facial Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery, AAFPRS; American Society of Plastic Surgeons, ASPS)
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