According to a report released by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, nearly 18 million cosmetic procedures were performed in the United States in 2018, and the numbers have been on the rise.
The society releases an annual study that details the number of procedures performed in the US, as reported by its board certified plastic surgeon members. The latest report has found that while cosmetic procedures are increasing in popularity, several procedures are seeing large increases as more and more people realize their potential benefits.
Let’s take a look at which surgical and minimally invasive procedures are the most sought after and have grown in popularity over the past 20 years.
Treatments using botulinum toxin type A, including Botox, Dysport, and Xeomin, were by far the most popular minimally invasive procedures, with more than 7.4 million anatomic sites injected in 2018 alone. As these wrinkle-smoothing treatments have become more mainstream, there has been an incredible 845 percent increase in their use since the year 2000. Not only are these neuromodulators used to soften wrinkles, but their roles have expanded to treating conditions like excessive sweating, jaw clenching, migraines, and more.
Brazilian Butt Lift
The Brazilian butt lift, aptly named after the country where the procedure originated, is also known as buttock augmentation with fat grafting. The Brazilian butt lift started to gain a more widespread practice in the 1980s, but it wasn’t until 2010 when the procedure saw explosive growth. A shift in cultural trends driven by various celebrities is thought to have influenced the continued growth in popularity, with a 19 percent increase between 2017 and 2018. The Brazilian butt lift is essentially two procedures in one, as fat is taken through liposuction from another part of the body and injected into the buttocks, shaping it to the patient’s desired aesthetic.
Laser Skin Resurfacing
Laser skin resurfacing has grown 248 percent since 2000. This skin rejuvenation procedure is a popular treatment used to reverse sun damage and keep fine lines at bay and helps skin look healthier as it ages. Laser technology continues to develop. Many types of lasers, which treat a variety of skin concerns with little downtime, are now available. Two of the most sought-after laser rejuvenation treatments are the Halo by Sciton, which is highly effective for overall skin rejuvenation, and Broadband Light, an IPL treatment that targets pigment and sun damage.
The second most common cosmetic surgery procedure is liposuction. It remains a very popular option, and the number of liposuction procedures done will likely continue to rise. More than 250,000 liposuction surgeries were performed in 2018, which was a 5 percent increase from the previous year. This fat-removal procedure is very desirable due to its ability to immediately shape and refine the contours of the body with minimal scarring.
Treatments with platelet-rich plasma (PRP) were among the most popular minimally invasive procedures in 2018. PRP treatments saw a sizable 12 percent increase during the reporting year. PRP treatments use a patient’s own blood plasma, which has a high concentration of growth factors. The PRP is injected back into the skin to stimulate collagen and cellular growth*.
Breast augmentation was the most popular surgical procedure in the report, with more than 300,000 surgeries done in 2018. While just a 4 percent increase was reported between 2017 and 2018, breast augmentations have risen by nearly 50 percent since 2000. Whether it’s to correct breast asymmetry, restore lost volume, or to increase the size of the breasts, breast augmentation surgery can help address a variety of concerns while boosting self-esteem and improving body image.
Non-invasive fat-reduction procedures, such as Coolsculpting and TruSculpt ID, are relatively new procedures that are becoming increasingly popular. The number of these procedures has increased 6 percent since 2017, and the outlook promises to be even more positive in the years to come. Patients are turning to these non-invasive treatments because they can reduce stubborn pockets of fat without the lengthy downtime of a surgery*.
Facial Fat Grafting
The most popular minimally invasive soft-tissue treatment, facial filler procedures using fat, surged by 16 percent in just a year. In these procedures, fat is harvested from a patient’s own body and is then processed and injected into areas of the face to restore volume. Many of those who opt for facial fat grafting may find their results last much longer than traditional fillers, which break down in the body within one year. Because fat cells are transferred from one part of the body to the face, the fat cells will live in their new location. Fat grafting is also commonly used to restore lost volume in the hands.
The number of thigh lift procedures has nearly doubled since 2000. These procedures are often performed on individuals who have undergone extreme weight loss. As a result, the skin is unable to contract, leaving excess skin on their inner or outer thighs that is uncomfortable. This procedure is recommended only for those who have reached or are close to their ideal weight*.
One of the 10 most popular cosmetic surgery procedures, breast lifts remove excess skin and reposition the nipple, essentially moving the breast to a higher position on the chest. Women whose breasts have become more droopy due to aging, genetics, or weight loss or those whose breast shape has changed due to pregnancy can benefit from a breast lift. This procedure saw a 4 percent increase since 2017 but has risen by 108 percent since 2000.
Lower Body Lift
The procedure that has seen the most rapid rise over the past two decades is a lower body lift. Lower body lifts have seen an incredible 4,295 percent increase since 2000. Also called a belt lipectomy, this procedure helps to shape and remove extra skin and fat around the “belt line.” The areas of the body treated during the procedure will vary from patient to patient depending on needs. Generally, this procedure involves removing excess skin to tighten the butt, thighs, hips, and/or abdomen*.
As one of the top five most popular cosmetic surgery procedures, more than 130,000 tummy tucks were performed in 2018. With a 107 percent increase, this procedure has more than doubled in popularity since 2000. The tummy tuck, or abdominoplasty, is an especially popular procedure among women who are living with permanent changes to the muscle and skin on their abdomen from pregnancy. A tummy tuck will not only return the look of their body to its pre-baby appearance, but it has several other benefits that can significantly improve a woman’s quality of life*. The surgery has been found to increase core strength, improve urinary incontinence, and relieve back pain that many women experience postpartum.
Emerging technologies, improvements in techniques, and greater accessibility to treat the most common aesthetic concerns all shape trends in cosmetic procedures. They can be interesting to explore, but a consultation with San Francisco Plastic Surgeon Dr. David Sieber, a board-certified plastic surgeon, can help you better understand the various treatment options available to you so that you can live your best, most confident life.
*Disclaimer: Results may vary from person to person. Editorial content, before and after images, and patient testimonials do not constitute a guarantee of specific results.
- American Society of Plastic Surgeons, 2018 National Plastic Surgery Statistics. (2019.) Retrieved from https://www.plasticsurgery.org/documents/News/Statistics/2018/plastic-surgery-statistics-report-2018.pdf
- PubMed, Evaluation of the psychological benefits of breast augmentation for aesthetic purposes. (2013.) Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23122532
- Wolters Kluwer Health, More than just a cosmetic procedure — ‘tummy tuck’ reduces back pain and incontinence, ScienceDaily. (2018.) Retrieved from https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/02/180228174905.htm