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Cosmetic Surgery on the decline in 2016

01 February 2017

Figures recently released by the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) show that,   for the first time in almost 10 years, the number of cosmetic operations fell by 40% in 2016.  A total of 31,000 cosmetic surgeries were performed in the UK last year, less than in 2007. The figures have come as a surprise for many.  In a press statement BAAPS cited several possible explanations for the decline, from uncertainty surrounding the EU referendum to “global fragility”. It’s also been suggested that larger cultural forces – mainly Instagram – have left us with less rigid ideas about beauty.

BAAPS President and consultant plastic surgeon Simon Withey believes the downturn can be seen as positive, as clearly the public is being more thoughtful about the serious impact of surgical procedures;

“The 2016 BAAPS audit demonstrates that at the very least, patients seem to be getting the message that cosmetic surgery is not a ‘quick fix’ but a serious commitment and are as a result, carefully evaluating risks as well as benefits surgery may offer. If it means people are taking their time to be truly sure a procedure is the right investment for them, then this can only be a good thing.”

Breast enhancement surgery or breast augmentation remains the most popular cosmetic surgery procedure amongst women with 7,732 procedures performed last year The surgical procedures that saw the least decrease in treatments performed in 2016 compared to 2015, amongst both men and women, were otoplasty (down 9%) and abdominoplasty (down 6%). Former BAAPS President Rajiv Grover suggests that this is likely because there are ‘no-real non-surgical equivalents’ currently on the market. Indeed, for men, abdominoplasty was the only surgical procedure that was performed more in 2016 than in 2015 while rhinoplasty, which saw a 35% decrease, tops the list for most performed procedure amongst men, with 529 procedures performed in 2016.

Whilst the number of cosmetic operations fall, more people are opting for non-surgical cosmetic procedures, which are cheaper and less invasive. Rajiv Grover who compiles the audit on an annual basis cautions;

“It’s worth however to remember that the non-surgical sector is rife with lax regulation, maverick behaviour and unethical promotional gimmicks, so the public must remain vigilant. Non-surgical does not, and never has, meant non-medical.”


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