The surgery statistics are out, but who's had what done?

Fiona Clark

Some 28,000 people went under the knife for cosmetic reasons in 2017 according to official statistics – but what did they have done?

The British Association of Aesthetic Plastics Surgeons ( has released it’s statistics for 2018 and according to the organisation their is a “surprising, yet undeniably clear-cut trend in aesthetic procedures” including a new gender divide.

While in general the trend for favouring less invasive cosmetic procedures continued, more women went under the knife for breast augmentation (up 7%) or reduction (up 5%) than in the previous year.

At a glance:

  • Over 28,000 ops took place in 2017, only slightly below than 2016
  • Men are averting their eyes and paying more attention to their faces
  • In contrast women focusing on body instead


There was a drop in the overall number of procedures performed as the trend toward less invasive procedures continues.  Men turned away from body procedures such as surgery for man boobs or liposuction or tumy tucks – perhaps favouring the non-surgical fat reduction on offer such as fat freezing, radiotherapy or ultrasound.

Instead, they turned their eyes upwards towards their faces where they opted instead for eyelid and brow lifts surgery (up by an eye-watering 25% and 27%) and facelifts (up 16%).

Women however, went the other way. While they favoured less invasive facial rejuvenation procedures with facelifts dropping a staggering 44% and brow lifts down 31%, breasts procedures increased. Breast augmentation was up 7% while breast reductions grew by 5% on the previous year.

breast-implants-trends- journal-harley-street-emporium

And what people are asking for when they have this surgery is changing too. Plastic surgeon and BAAPS spokesperson Reza Nassab told Harley Street Emporium the women were now seeking a more natural look when it comes to breasts.

“People are wanting a more natural look. Before they’d come and say I want people to know I’ve had them done, but they’re no longer saying I want people to know. Now most are saying they want them to look natural.”

He says many are women who’ve had children who are just wanting a bit of volume restored to the top of their breasts.

There was also a small rise in the number of tummy tucks women had (up 1%) while the number dropped 12% in men.

BAAPS President Rajiv Grover, who compiles the audit on an annual basis said social media still plays a part when it comes to surgery choices.

Millennials are expected to take as many as 25,000 selfies in their lifetime and more than half of women admit to enhancing every photo they ever post and, while it’s possible to out filters on facial pictures, it’s not so easy to do the same with the body.

“Both of these factors may potentially be the reasons why women’s focus for cosmetic surgery in 2017 has shifted from their face to their body in order to address the stubborn areas that neither diet, exercise, nor filters can reach.”


According to BAAPS President and consultant plastic surgeon Simon Withey, the slight downturn in cosmetic surgery procedures demonstrates a ‘normalisation’ as the British public are now more aware about the serious impact of surgical procedures:

“The slight downwards shift in surgical procedures overall hopefully continues to demonstrate that at the very least, patients are realising that cosmetic surgery is not a ‘quick fix’ but a serious commitment.

He add however that non-surgical doesn’t mean no risk. “Patients should be wary of anything touted which seems too good, or too cheap, to be true. The climate of lax regulation has yet to be addressed in a satisfactory manner to protect the public.”

The Figures in full:
The top surgical procedures for men & women in 2017 (total 28,315. A fall of 7.9% from 2016) In order of popularity:

Breast augmentation:                                                  8,251 – up 6% from last 2016
Breast Reduction:                                                       4,043– up 6%
Blepharoplasty (eyelid surgery):                                 3,276 – down 16%
Abdominoplasty:                                                        2,761 – Static
Rhinoplasty:                                                                2,751 – up 2%
Liposuction:                                                                2,309 – down 28%
Face/Neck Lift:                                                           2,002 – down 42%
Fat Transfer:                                                                1,468 – Static
Otoplasty (ear correction):                                          1,009 – up 2%
Browlift:                                                                     445 – down 27%

Analysis of BAAPS Audit 2016-2017 The top surgical procedures for women in 2017 (25,898 total. A fall of 8.6% from 2016) Women had 91% of all cosmetic procedures in 2017. 2017 figures for women in order of popularity:
Breast augmentation:                                                  8,238 – up 7% from 2016
Breast Reduction:                                                       3,747– up 5%
Blepharoplasty (eyelid surgery):                                 2,873 – down 20%
Abdominoplasty:                                                        2,610 – up 1%
Rhinoplasty:                                                                2,197 – up 1%
Liposuction:                                                                2,039 – down 29%
Face/Neck Lift:                                                                       1,857 – down 44%
Fat Transfer:                                                                1,359 – Static
Otoplasty (ear correction):                                          590 – up 4%
Browlift:                                                                     388 – down 31%

The top surgical procedures for men in 2017 (2,417 total. A rise of 0.3% from 2016)
Men had 9% of all cosmetic procedures in 2017. 2017 figures for men in order of popularity:

Rhinoplasty:                                                                554 – up 5% from 2016
Otoplasty (ear correction):                                          419 – down 0.5%
Blepharoplasty (eyelid surgery):                                 403 – up 25%
Breast Reduction:                                                       296 – down 7%
Liposuction:                                                                270 – down 20%
Abdominoplasty:                                                        151 – down 12%
Face/Neck Lift:                                                           145 – up 16%
Fat Transfer                                                                 109 – up 9%
Brow lifts                                                                    57 – up 27%
Breast augmentation:                                                  13 – down 65%


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