The changing face of cosmetic surgery


With recent news that two UK cosmetic surgery companies have gone into administration, reportedly due to a ‘lack of Brexit clarity’, it is easy to assume that the industry might be due for a downturn.

However, according to the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons there was actually a small increase of 0.1% in the number of cosmetic procedures between 2017 and 2018, with over 28,000 procedures recorded last year.

Whilst this is not a huge increase, it shows that demand for cosmetic surgery procedures remains buoyant despite uncertain economic times in the UK.

In fact, worldwide the number of surgical cosmetic procedures increased by 5% in 2017, according to the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ISAPS).

Global cosmetic surgery figures

In total, there were over 10 million surgical procedures across the world in 2017 and over 12 million non-surgical procedures.

Of the surgical procedures, the most popular operation was breast augmentation at over 1.6 million, followed by over 1.5million liposuction procedures and over 1.3million cases of eyelid surgery.

Vaginal Rejuvenation proved to be the fastest growing cosmetic surgery procedure with a 23% increase on 2016 figures. This was followed by Lower Body Lift, Buttock Lift and Rhinoplasty respectively.

Growing demand in the UK

Whilst the increase the number of cosmetic surgery procedures in the UK between 2017 and 2018 is quite modest, some plastic surgery procedures have soared in demand over this period.

For men and women combined, breast reduction procedures increased by 6%, liposuction by 9% and face/neck lift by 7%. There was also increasing demand for Abdominoplasty, up 5% for women and 18% for men.

Also known as a Tummy Tuck, the British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons describes Abdominoplasty as “most commonly carried out to remove excess skin, unwanted scars, stretch marks and fat, and to tighten the stomach muscles.”

With the OECD finding that over 1 in 4 adults in the United Kingdom are obese, it is perhaps no surprise that cosmetic surgery procedures such as Abdominoplasty and liposuction are in greater demand.

So whilst Brexit might be having a slowing impact in some areas, it seems that the country’s growing waistlines will continue to deliver a growing market for plastic surgeons.