What's trending in surgeries now? The stats revealed

Fiona Clark

Tweak vs tuck: Cosmetic surgery statistics are out. Let’s see what’s trending.

More than 28,000 Brits underwent a cosmetic procedure last year according to the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS). Its annual audit shows a slight increase of 0.1% on 2017.

Women underwent 92% of all cosmetic procedures that were recorded with the three most popular procedures being breast augmentation, breast reduction and blepharoplasty (eyelid surgery). The biggest increases for women were for liposuction procedures which rose 12%, and facelifts which rose 9%.

Former BAAPS President Rajiv Grover, who compiles the audit on an annual basis, said:

“The 2018 BAAPS audit shows that demand for cosmetic surgery remains buoyant despite a year when the high street has struggled. Women in particular chose to spend on treatments with a proven track-record such as facelifts, which deliver reliable, long-lasting and natural results”

This trend was driven, he said, by the openness of celebrities like Jane Fonda who recently admitted to having surgery over several decades to enhance her looks and prolong her career.

“While demand for non-surgical treatments such as fillers and skin tightening is rising, it’s important to note that, once there is actual loose skin, only surgery is likely to make a significant long-term improvement,” he added.

For both men and women liposuction saw a sharp rise of 9%, Grover explained: “The rise comes at a time where the popularity of TV shows such as Love Island has driven the desire for a toned torso, as did the fashion for women’s athleisure clothing.”

But he added there is a danger when cosmetic surgery becomes too closely linked to reality TV or celebrity endorsement.

“It can make surgery seem like a commodity, which should never be the case. An operation is not something that can simply be returned to the shop if you have second thoughts.”


Men shun the knife for the needle

Overall, male cosmetic surgery dropped by 4.7% in 2018 as non-surgical treatments gained popularity driven by the trend for men preferring to look tweaked rather than tucked. The fall in brow lifts for both women (down 15%) and men (down 4%) underlines the value of Botox as an alternative but also a preventative treatment in rejuvenating the forehead and brow.

But Grover warned that people should be wary of cheap deals and ensure their practitioners are medically qualified.

“The non-surgical sector is rife with lax regulation and unethical promotions and the public must remain vigilant as ‘non-surgical’ does not mean the same as ‘non-medical’. These treatments have risks as well as benefits and patients must choose their practitioner very carefully.”

The top three surgical procedures for men were nose jobs, ear corrections and blepharoplasty or eyelid surgery.


Boobs drop in size

If the stats are anything to go by, big breasts aren’t as popular as they were in the past. While the top three surgeries for women the top three were breast augmentation, breast reduction – which rose by 7% to just over 4000 operations, and eyelid surgery (see below), breast augmentation surgeries dropped by 6% to 7727.

Abdominoplasty and liposuction procedures also rose by 5% and 12% respectively, with around 5000 operations performed.


More regulation needed in an unregulated market

BAAPS President and consultant plastic surgeon Paul Harris has called for further regulation of non-healthcare professionals conducting cosmetic surgery.

“The rise in high-street and DIY non-surgical cosmetic procedures is hugely concerning for a number of reasons, not least the potential for profit to be placed before patient care. Other issues are that it makes it easier for underage individuals to access, that unrealistic expectations may not be addressed, and that any emergency complications would need to be dealt with outside of a medical environment. Further regulation of products, practitioners, procedures and premises is urgently required to ensure patients’ physical and psychological well-being,” he said.

He added: “Undergoing a cosmetic procedure is never a decision to take lightly – that’s why the BAAPS always advocates that any procedure should be preceded by a robust assessment of the patient’s physical and psychological well-being, something all BAAPS surgeons do as standard.”

The BAAPS is the only surgical association to mandate of its members that they collect such data and is the only source of reliable data available in a completely unregulated market.


BAAPS Audit Results 2019 – the figures in full

The top surgical procedures for men & women in 2018 (total 28,347. A rise of 0.1% from 2017)

In order of popularity:

  • Breast augmentation:                        7,745 – down 6% from last year
  • Breast Reduction:                               4,299 – up 6%
  • Blepharoplasty (eyelid surgery):       3,153 – down 4%
  • Abdominoplasty:                                2,912 – up 6%
  • Rhinoplasty:                                        2,831 – up 3%
  • Liposuction:                                         2,518 – up 9%
  • Face/Neck Lift:                                    2,134 – up 7%
  • Fat Transfer:                                        1,428 – down 3%
  • Otoplasty (ear correction):                   944 – down 6%
  • Browlift:                                                  383 – down 14%


The top surgical procedures for women in 2018 (26,043 total. A rise of 0.6% from 2017). 2018 figures for women in order of popularity:

  • Breast augmentation:                        7,727 – down 6% from last year
  • Breast Reduction:                               4,014 – up 7%
  • Blepharoplasty (eyelid surgery):       2,820 – down 2%
  • Abdominoplasty:                                2,733 – up 5%
  • Liposuction:                                         2,286 – up 12%
  • Rhinoplasty:                                        2,260 – up 3%
  • Face/Neck Lift:                                    2,013 – up 9%
  • Fat Transfer:                                        1,330 – down 2%
  • Otoplasty (ear correction):                   532 – down 10%
  • Browlift:                                                  328 – down 15%

The top surgical procedures for men in 2018 (2,304 total. A fall of 4.7% from 2017). 2018 figures for men in order of popularity:

  • Rhinoplasty:                                         571 – up 3% from last year
  • Otoplasty (ear correction):                 412 – down 2%
  • Blepharoplasty (eyelid surgery):        333 – down 17%
  • Breast Reduction:                                285 – down 4%
  • Liposuction:                                          232 – down 14%
  • Abdominoplasty:                                 179 – up 18%
  • Face/Neck Lift:                                     121 – down 16%
  • Fat Transfer                                            98 – down 10%
  • Brow lifts                                                 55 – down 4%
  • Breast augmentation:                           18 – Static

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