Explaining the latest Cosmetic Surgery trends: new 2010 BAAPS statistics

Some clear trends in Cosmetic Surgery were apparent when The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) released the UK’’s 2010 statistics this week.

Despite the recession, there are more cosmetic surgery procedures being carried out in the UK than ever: a 5% increase on the previous year.

But whilst some procedures are clearly on the rise – most notably Breast Enlargements and Male Breast Reductions – – others, like Prominent Ear Correction and Abdominoplasty are decreasing in popularity.

What factors might be responsible for these trends and can we predict what factors may influence Cosmetic Surgery trends in 2011?

Women still account for 90% of the 38,274 cosmetic surgery procedures carried out by BAAPS-approved surgeons in 2010 (the same percentage as 2009). The fact that Cosmetic Surgery procedures have risen by 5% despite the recession suggests that we Brits –- particularly British women -– are simply not willing to compromise our looks or self-esteem no matter how tricky the economy gets.

Clearly, saving hard for a much-desired treatment, using savings or trying to find funding is perfectly acceptable today and a good indication of the “worth” of Cosmetic Surgery to modern society.

For these women, easily the most popular Surgery seems to be Breast Augmentation (enlargement with implants). After two years of very little increase, there has suddenly been a considerable (10%) rise in Breast Augmentation procedures. There were 9430 Breast Enlargements in the UK by BAAPS surgeons last year.

Blepheroplasty (eyelids) and Face/Neck Lifts also all seem to be increasing in popularity.

It is not only women finding the funds for cosmetic surgery, however. Amongst the 10% of male patients in the UK, there was a huge increase in popularity of Male Breast (Man Boob / Moob) Reduction (up 28%).

Possibly this surge is due to better publicity about Gynaecomastia and availability of this treatment. Taking away some of the “taboo” about this condition may have made men feel it is more acceptable to come forward for this confidence-enhancing treatment.

The ever-popular male nose job (rhinoplasty) is also steadily rising in numbers. Abdominoplasty procedures, however, seem to have fallen slightly in popularity last year with both genders. So has Liposuction for women, but not for men.

This could possibly be explained by the growing protocol for Cosmetic Surgeons to advise patients to reach an optimum Body Mass Index before embarking upon cosmetic surgery.

This may well have dissuaded those who intended to use such procedures as a “quick fix” for losing weight, instead of exercise and sensible dieting. Perhaps men are more willing than women to embark upon the prescribed exercise regime and return for treatment.

For men and women alike, 2010 saw a considerable decrease (23%) in Otoplasty surgery, to correct prominent ears. As this source recognises, people with protruding ears often feel they are the first thing people notice, yet “ears are generally a less important part of our appearance since they are placed and shaped in a way that our surroundings do not notice them.””

Perhaps this explains why this procedure is one which has been compromised at a time when money is tight and sacrifices must be made. Added to this is the growing “fashionability” of larger ears as a cute quirk thanks to a number of high-profile figures: Will Smith (and his daughter, Willow); Channing Tatum; Barrack Obama; Kate Hudson; Gary Lineker; Lee Evans.

For 2011, there are a few social trends emerging already which could fuel Cosmetic Surgery predictions. Weight loss and body mass are hot topics which could lead people to become increasingly self-conscious about their physiques and cause a return to Abdominoplasty/Liposuction procedures, particularly if coupled with health regimes.

Chairman of the British Association of Cosmetic Doctors, Dr Mike Comins, predicts that as costs of living worsen, people will turn increasingly to smaller, cheaper procedures like Botox and Fillers or cheaper, “mini” versions of treatments like a Mini Tummy Tuck or VASER Lipo.