The most popular plastic surgery procedures in the US are released annually in reports by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons and the Aesthetic Society of American Plastic Surgery. The numbers themselves seem to be less interesting than the trends. The booming non-surgical and minimally-invasive world continues to be a top trend that sees no signs of relenting. And while surgical procedures generally stay the same in terms of what’s most popular, technical advances in their execution has continued to keep them sought after.
Board certified plastic surgeons weigh in with their own personal experiences with continuing and/or burgeoning trends on the latest episode of No Spin Live.
Procedure Trends > Procedure Numbers
The number of procedures performed is not a useless metric. This data allows for a global look at the field, but that doesn’t mean it’s more important than procedure trends. “I don’t concentrate on the numbers, I concentrate on the trends,” shares board certified plastic surgeon Dr. Jason Pozner. “Basically, the trends haven’t really changed. Minimally-invasive procedures are as strong as ever, if not a little more. Botox and fillers are the highest, microdermabrasion, chemical peels, laser hair removal… That’s been pretty much the same for the last 10 years on the non-surgical side. And on the surgical side, the most popular procedures are always breast implants and liposuction. There’s always slight variations, but I don’t think things have changed much over the last few years.”
When it comes to both non-surgical and surgical, it’s hard to outperform the leaders. On the non-surgical side, the effectiveness of Botox and dermal fillers is unshakeable. More and more patients, especially those who may have never considered cosmetic surgery before, witness the incredible rejuvenation these procedures are responsible for and want a piece of it for themselves. Likewise, breast augmentation and liposuction lead the surgical pack because of their effectiveness, and in the case of breast augmentation, the dramatically improved recovery.
“I think trends are important, I agree, but I also think it’s been the same trend,” says board certified plastic surgeon Dr. Craig Colville. “Injectables are extremely popular. The surgeries are also popular, and the reason they remain popular is that our downtime with surgery is so much less than it used to be.”
Questionnaires and Reports are Not the End All Be All
While the annual reports are illuminating in many regards, they aren’t the end all be all of the field. Dr. Christine Hamori, a board certified plastic surgeon in Boston, has seen considerable growth in vaginal rejuvenation year over year. While this trend is real and it’s growth approaching exponential, the number of cases is far lower than the heavyweights like breast augmentation and Botox, which may limit it’s data in the reports.
“First of all, who is answering those questionnaires? Not everyone is responding so I’m not sure all of the categories are actually representative of what everyone is doing,” shares Dr. Hamori. “I was wondering if liposuction is up because they’re doing a lot of Brazilian butt lifts and you have to do liposuction with that. But in general, as far as I’m concerned, I’ve seen a huge boom continually in labiaplasty and now vaginal rejuvenation – surgical and non-surgical.”
Things Move Slowly, Even as Data Continues to Mount
Without looking at the report data, it’s a safe bet to assume non-surgical procedures are a significant and growing trend in modern plastic surgery. Their ability to bridge the gap between patients curious about cosmetic improvement and a fear or non-desire for surgery cannot be understated. On the same token, this allows for a market dump of more and more non-surgical devices, which then need to be tested for true efficacy. Unfortunately with a growing non-surgical market comes a market steeped in marketing rather than achieving patient goals.
Even with the downsides, non-surgical options are improving – especially in vaginal rejuvenation. Their effectiveness forms the backbone of the growing trend, and has given surgeons new tools to combat aging in an area that used to be severely neglected in the field.
“I think non-surgical things are getting better; tightening is getting better,” shares Pozner, noting the difficulty non-surgical skin tightening devices have faced. “I think the whole non-surgical vaginal rejuvenation, the hard data is really starting to roll out to show that these procedures actually work.”