Most popular cosmetic surgery procedures in 2012

March 12, 2013

Most popular cosmetic surgery procedures in 2012
Most popular cosmetic surgery procedures in 2012

The 2012 National Totals for Cosmetic Procedures, hot off the press from the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), answers an interesting question: "What cosmetic procedures do Americans think are important enough to invest hard-earned dollars in?"

Breasts regain their number one status
Breast augmentation has regained its status in 2012 as the leading surgical procedure in the United States after slipping back into second position in 2011. This is no surprise; today's low cut and scooped out tops demand attractive cleavage. Also, the return of silicone gel implants to the market in 2006 may be a driving force in breast augmentation increase. Women have traditionally favored silicone because of its more natural look and feel. There were 369,928 breast augmentations performed in 2012 compared with 316,848 in 2011.

Last year's frontrunner, liposuction, had 313,011 procedures in 2012 compared with 325,332 procedures in 2011. Competing with liposuction are some new and cutting edge noninvasive body sculpting techniques, including CoolSculpting, Vaser Shape, and Liposonix. About 77,000 Americans used noninvasive technologies to get rid of unwanted pockets of fat in 2012. Though quicker and easier than liposuction, these technologies yield much less dramatic results, so it will be interesting to see how they fare next year.

The face is up front and center
You can't ignore the face when Facebook, LinkedIn and a million and one dating sites put it...in your face. The facelift went from 116,086 procedures in 2011 to 119,006 procedures in 2012. This growth is especially significant when you consider the huge proliferation of noninvasive injectable, laser and other skin tightening procedures we have been spending money on. Botox is still the leader of the pack, skyrocketing from 2,619,739 procedures in 2011 to 3,257,913 procedures in 2012. 

Rhinoplasty aka "the nose job" also had a healthy increase, from 126,107 procedures in 2011 to 143,801 procedures in 2012. But otoplasty (ear surgery) also increased. Both rhinoplasty and otoplasty procedures made headlines in 2012 when some parents agreed to allow their children to undergo these procedures so these children would not be bullied.\

The "stronger" sex
Men are not only removing body hair, they are also paring down their overdeveloped breasts. Gynecomastia (male breast reduction) had significant growth, from 17,645 procedures in 2011 to 22,736 in 2012.

Weight loss-related surgeries
With the growing phenomenon of bariatric surgery and the extreme skin laxity that follows dramatic weight loss, body contouring surgery shows steady growth. Lower body lift rose from 9175 to 10,119, abdominoplasty rose from 149,410 surgeries in 2011 to 156,508 surgeries in 2012, upper arm lift rose from 18,709 to 22,969 and thigh lift from 13,878 to 16,517.
These are just some of the cosmetic procedure statistics that are making news. For the big picture, see the complete 2012 Cosmetic Surgery Statistics available from ASAPS.


The mission of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) includes medical education, public education and patient advocacy. Plastic Surgery News Briefs are summaries of current stories found through various news and magazine outlets that relate to or mention plastic surgery and cosmetic procedures. The views expressed in these news articles do not necessarily reflect the opinions of ASAPS, but are merely published as an educational service to our members and the general public. For additional information on these subjects and other plastic surgery related topics, please go to www.surgery.org

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About ASAPS
The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), is recognized as the world’s leading organization devoted entirely to aesthetic plastic surgery and cosmetic medicine of the face and body.  ASAPS is comprised of over 2,600 Plastic Surgeons; active members are certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (USA) or by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and have extensive training in the complete spectrum of surgical and non-surgical aesthetic procedures. International active members are certified by equivalent boards of their respective countries. All members worldwide adhere to a strict Code of Ethics and must meet stringent membership requirements.

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