The Most Popular Plastic Surgery Trends in 2021

Since its emergence in the late 60s, modern plastic surgery is becoming more and more popular. Now such procedures are widespread and widely accepted in the world. From celebrities raising their voices about their cosmetic procedures to television shows about plastic surgery addiction, plastic surgery is no longer as uncommon as it was in the past. Today, cosmetic and plastic surgeons offer a wide variety of plastic surgeries and non-invasive cosmetic procedures for nearly every part of the human anatomy.

“We have seen an all-time high in surgical procedures ranging from facelifts to significant body contouring procedures,” said plastic surgeon Sachin M. Shridharani, MD, whose practice LUXURGERY is on Fifth Avenue in New York City, N.Y. “The perfect storm of limited travel for work or personal reasons, decreased entertainment venues, and more flexibility to work from home has led to a unique opportunity for patients to undergo surgical proceduresand take the time they need to recover in the privacy and comfort of their homes, respectively. We have also seen a surge in demand for nonsurgical treatments, especially injectables.”

According to dermatologist Shino Bay Aguilera, DO, of Shino Bay Cosmetic Dermatology, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., while some in-demand procedures are here to stay, others are more fleeting fads. For example, Bella Hadid is among the celebrities who helped stir young people’s desire for “fox eyes.” Many can achieve the lifted, almond-shaped look of the eyes with makeup, while others are visiting aesthetic practices for a more permanent option, he elaborated.

“Instead of using makeup, you can use polydioxanone (PDO) threads to pull the eyes for so-called ‘fox eyes,’” Dr. Aguilera said. “That will last maybe three months.”

However, this is one trend that Dr. Aguilera does not encourage. The skin around the eyes is thin, so while patients in their 20s might be producing the collagen and elastin to pull off the look, the already stretched skin could be more prone to wrinkling by the mid-40s when the skin is naturally less elastic.

“I think that by putting this tension on the skin, the 40-year-old versions of these young girls that are getting fox eyes will be sorry that they did it. They are going to need that upper blepharoplasty a lot earlier,” Dr. Aguilera said.

Trends like this tend to come and go. Another example, according to Dr. Aguilera, is the now waning demand for “Russian lips.”

“At least in the U.S., I think demand for the oversized lips is decreasing. People are moving towards natural is better,” Dr. Aguilera said.

The Most Common Plastic Surgery Procedures

These were the ten most popular plastic surgery procedures during 2020 and the numbers of surgeries that were performed that year: :

  • Nose reshaping (rhinoplasty): 352,555
  • Eyelid surgery (blepharoplasty): 325,112
  • Facelift (rhytidectomy): 234,374
  • Liposuction: 211,067
  • Breast augmentation (augmentation mammaplasty): 193,073
  • Neck lift: 160,235
  • Dermabrasion: 139,933
  • Cheek implant (malar augmentation): 108,189
  • Tummy tuck (abdominoplasty): 97,988
  • Forehead lift: 88,675

It may not be a surprise that rhinoplasty (also known as a nose job) was the most common type of surgical procedure among plastic surgeons. But this is actually a stark change from previous years when breast augmentations and liposuction were the most popular cosmetic surgery procedures. Rhinoplasties increased by 23% between 2007 and 2020 and went from being the third most popular procedure to the most popular procedure.

Plastic Surgery Procedures Have Had the Largest Increases and Decreases in Popularity

These are the ten cosmetic surgery procedures that saw the biggest increase in popularity from 2007:

  • Cheek implant: 1258% increase
  • Chin augmentation: 194% increase
  • Forehead lift: 107% increase
  • Dermabrasion: 100% increase
  • Facelift: 98% increase
  • Ear surgery: 86% increase
  • Pectoral implants: 58% increase
  • Lip augmentation: 45% increase
  • Breast implant removals: 35% increase
  • Eyelid surgery: 35% increase

Comparable data prior to 2007 was unavailable for following plastic surgery procedures, but they also saw increases in popularity:

  • Lip reduction: 1,989% increase since 2011
  • Neck lift: 190% increase since 2013
  • Buttock augmentation with fat grafting: 118% increase since 2013

On the opposite end of the spectrum, these are the cosmetic plastic surgery procedures that have decreased in popularity compared to 2007:

  • Hair transplantation: 47% decrease
  • Breast augmentation: 44% decrease
  • Tummy tuck: 34% decrease
  • Liposuction: 30% decrease
  • Breast lift: 16% decrease
  • Buttock lift: 13% decrease
  • Breast reduction in men: 13% decrease
  • Calf augmentation: 9% decrease
  • Lower body lift: 2% decrease

Although surgeries like breast augmentations and liposuction saw dramatic decreases over the past decade, they are still among the most common. Liposuction was the fourth most popular plastic surgery procedure and breast augmentation was the fifth.

Non-Invasive Cosmetic Procedures

Non-invasive cosmetic procedures have also been a popular choice through the years. They generally don’t involve major surgeries or extensive recovery times, making them a good choice for individuals not ready to go under the knife. This is how the popularity of the most common non-invasive cosmetic procedures has changed since 2007:

  • Soft tissue fillers: 124% increase
  • Botulinum toxin type A: 5% decrease
  • Chemical peel: -9%
  • Laser hair removal: -16%
  • Microdermabrasion: -42%

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