The American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) have recently released their annual statistics and as the organisation is the largest of its type in the world and has more than 7,000 members with over 94% of all certified cosmetic surgeons in the US, the annual report can often give an early indication of global cosmetic surgery developments.

It’s a pretty positive picture too, on the whole given the rapid technological changes. Whilst the growth in the total US number of procedures was a modest 2% from 2016 there were some individual trends that stood out.

Tummy tucks make a comeback

Tummy tucks, which had been on the decline and hadn’t even featured in the top five most popular cosmetic surgery procedures for 2016 made a surprising rebound in 2017 with an increase of over 2,000 procedures. Possible reasons could be that more post-partum women are recognising the additional benefits of a procedure that can deliver functional benefits beyond the cosmetic results.

There was also a staggering 20% growth in body sculpting and non-invasive fat procedures which would include ultrasound, radio frequency, vacuum massage, fat freezing and injectable medications. Non -surgical laser treatment for cellulite has also seen a 55% increase since 2000 with a 19% increase last year alone.

The picture in the UK isn’t that different according to UK statistics produced in February by the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS), of which Mr Horlock is a member of. Unlike the US, though, there is a general decline in surgical procedures (around 8% year on year). The statistics from BAAPS only covers surgical procedures and do not include treatments that are deemed ‘non-surgical’ or ‘minimally invasive’ unlike the US figures.

According to the BAAPS President Simon Withey, the downturn represents a ‘normalisation’ as there’s a growing awareness in the UK of the serious impact of surgical procedures and that surgery isn’t a ‘quick fix’ but is a longer-term commitment.

Growth of non-invasive aesthetic options

There are one or two major divergences though. Whilst liposuction has increased by 5% in the US the UK has seen a 28% reduction year on year, again this is almost certainly due to the variety of non-invasive options available now to combat fatty tissue.

Although surgery has seen a general decline in the UK the tummy tuck continues to hold its own and whilst the procedure hasn’t seen the same growth as the US since last year it has remained static whilst face and neck lifts have reduced by a staggering 42%.

The UK statistics also indicated an interesting split between men and women when it came to cosmetic surgery options. In 2016 and 2017, we saw a focus shift from the body to the face with tummy tucks down and facelifts up. Women, on the other hand, eschewed the facial treatments (facelifts down 44%) but breast augmentation was up by 7%.

In summary, the UK and US are both performing largely as expected. Yes, there were one or two surprises but allowing for the predicted correction in the UK the general view both here and Stateside confirms that cosmetic surgery remains in good shape.