New Trends in 2011 Cosmetic Surgery Statistics

April 4, 2012

Liposuction trumps breast augmentation for the first time in three years.
Liposuction trumps breast augmentation for the first time in three years.

Cosmetic surgery statistics are in a class of their own. Unlike other surgical statistics, they don’t reflect national health; they reflect national aesthetic choices. They also reflect cultural trends and economic ups and downs. The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) just published statistics for 2011.

Reporting on these statistics, WebMD noted, “Cosmetic surgical procedures increased almost 1 percent since 2010, while minimally invasive procedures decreased almost 2 percent in the same time period. “ Interpreting this trend, ASAPS President Jeffrey M. Kenkel, MD, says, “Surgery seems to be slowly coming back.” He told WebMD that injectables and other noninvasive treatments have a role, but in today’s competitive marketplace people have good reason to look for long-lasting results. Because of economic pressures, we have to stay in the workplace longer, which means competing for jobs with much younger people.

In a big turnaround, for the first time in three years, “ASAPS Quick Facts,” on the surgery.org website, indicates that lipoplasty has surpassed breast augmentation as the most popular cosmetic surgical procedure in the United States. “Until 2008, liposuction had been the most popular cosmetic surgery procedure, but from 2008-2010 breast augmentation held that title.”

But there is other significant news about breast augmentation. According to WebMD, “Fully two-thirds of women receiving implants chose silicone-filled breast implants in 2011.” The significance of this, reports Kenkel, is that “women and plastic surgeons are becoming more comfortable with the safety of these implants.” This trust has been rebuilt after a 14-year ban on silicone implants, which was lifted in 2006. As further confirmation of silicone implant safety, the FDA just approved a new silicone-gel breast implant from Sientra.

In descending order the top five surgical procedures in 2011 were liposuction, breast augmentation, abdominoplasty, eyelid surgery and breast lift. Botulinum toxin type A (Botox and Dysport) continued to rank as the top nonsurgical procedures.

Joan Kron, reporting for Allure magazine, is impressed that for the first time since ASAPS started publishing statistics, ASAPS expanded the survey to ask the doctors who were surveyed if they administered Botox and Dysport themselves or delegated this job to assistants. According to Kron, “The doctors themselves performed the toxin injections in only 2.6 million cases. Nurses in their employ or physician assistants administered the other 1.4 million toxin treatments.”

ASAPS statistics were based on questionnaire responses from 420 plastic surgeons, 384 dermatologists and 211 otolaryngologists. Although ASAPS membership is restricted to American Board of Plastic Surgery certified physicians, their data represents questionnaire results from the specialties of otolaryngology and dermatology as well as plastic surgery.


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.

WE ARE AESTHETICS.

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