Cosmetic surgery in decline

The latest BAAPS figures show breast augmentations fell 20% last year

Breast augmentations, tummy tucks and nose jobs are no longer in high demand in the UK, according to the latest statistics to be released by the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS).

Despite still retaining its spot at the top of the cosmetic surgery list in terms of popularity, the number of women having breast augmentations plummeted by 20%. And it was a similar story for tummy tucks, or abdominoplasty, which fell 20%, down one place in the popularity stakes from 2013. The number of women having rhinoplasty also fell 20%, down to sixth place from fifth in 2013. The shift in the number of these procedures taking place was reflected in the number of overall cosmetic operations performed last year. BAAPS reported that cosmetic operations fell 9% overall from 2013.

And it wasn't just women that were avoiding going under the knife in 2014. Male figures for cosmetic surgery decreased 15% overall. Nose jobs, which were last year’s most popular procedure for men, fell 30% and even male breast reduction decreased 10%. Interestingly, all male procedures fell to some extent, although less dramatically in terms of subtle treatments such as male eyelid surgery, which barely drooped by 4% and became their most popular operation. The ratio of men remained the same as previous years, however, with male patients still accounting for roughly one in ten (9%) of all surgical procedures.

Rajiv Grover, consultant plastic surgeon and former President of the BAAPS, said: “The difference between 2013 and 2014 may seem surprising, but the dramatic double-digit rise last year was very clearly a post-austerity ‘boom’ and figures are simply returning to a more rational level. It might seem counter-intuitive that as plastic surgeons we could possibly welcome such a change, but we are pleased that the public are now so much more thoughtful, cautious and educated in their approach to cosmetic surgery.”

Grover added that aesthetic preferences naturally evolve over time, with current trends tending towards a ‘less-is-more’ look, where natural features are favoured.

Michael Cadier, Consultant Plastic Surgeon and BAAPS President added: “With demand for the most subtle anti-ageing procedures such as eyelid surgery and facelifts holding steady, it’s clear that the public of 2014 were after a refreshed or youthful appearance rather than more conspicuous alterations. Proven treatments such as surgical liposuction also continued to rise which is unsurprising, when so many non-surgical alternatives for fat removal seem ineffective.

“The message to the aesthetic sector is clear: patients want subtle and understated – most refreshingly, they are doing their research, taking their time and coming to us with realistic expectations. At the BAAPS we consider this to be a triumph and, as the only organisation based at the Royal College of Surgeons solely dedicated to advancing safety and training in aesthetic surgery, we’re committed to continue in our mission of promoting education and sensible decision making in cosmetic procedures.”

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