Two plastic surgery procedures have seen $9bn boom during pandemic

Liposuction was the most popular cosmetic procedure during lockdown

Chelsea Ritschel
New York
Tuesday 27 April 2021 17:40
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Americans continued to undergo cosmetic surgery procedures amid the pandemic, according to new data, which found that liposuction and fillers were the most popular elective surgeries.

In the beginning of 2020, the pandemic forced many surgeons to cancel or postpone elective surgeries and procedures as the focus turned to saving lives.

However, as the country began to reopen, plastic surgeons saw an influx in patients, with the annual report Aesthetic Plastic Surgery Statistics for 2020, compiled by The Aesthetic Society with data from the Aesthetic Neural Network (ANN), finding that Americans spent more than $9bn on aesthetic plastic surgery in 2020.

According to the report, the most popular surgical procedures during lockdown were liposuction, breast augmentation and abdominoplasties or “tummy tucks,” which flatten the abdomen by removing excess skin and fat.

Of the procedures, liposuction was the most popular, with the report, which analysed data from all 288 participating plastic surgery practices across the US, finding that 296,601 procedures were carried out during 2020, while breast augmentations followed closely behind at 252,022.

Although the numbers are still high, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons2020 Annual Plastic Surgery Data report found that the number of breast augmentations decreased by 33 per cent compared to 2019, while liposuction decreased by 20 per cent.

However, the number of patients undergoing buttock implants increased over the past year compared to the year prior, with the report stating an increase of 22 per cent, while other popular procedures included breast implant removals and breast lifts.

When it came to non-surgical procedures, Americans most frequently sought out neurotoxins such as Botox, with the injectable making up 2,643,366 of the plastic surgery procedures in 2020, while 1,313,206 Americans received dermal fillers.

While the number of Botox injections was down 13 per cent compared to 2019, according to the ASPS’ report, the procedure is up 459 per cent from 2000.

Other popular non-surgical procedures included skin treatments such as chemical peels and hydrofacials, according to The Aesthetic Society’s report.

As for the age group that drove the popularity of the procedures, The Aesthetic Society’s report found that 40 per cent of all the procedures in 2020 were in the 36 to 50 age group, with the group favouring liposuction - while the younger generations more frequently underwent breast augmentations. 

According to Dr Herluf G Lund Jr, president of The Aesthetic Society, the popularity of cosmetic surgery over the pandemic was likely the result of a few factors, including “the boom in video calls” and the increased “opportunity for discreet downtime” that many Americans experienced as a result of working from home.

The hypothesis that working from home has increased the willingness to undergo plastic surgery was one echoed byJeremy Nikfarjam, a board-certified plastic surgeon and founder of New You Plastic Surgery, who told HuffPost: “I have tons of accountants and bankers as patients because they are now sidelined and can work and recover at the same time.

“They are using their time as a means to recuperate after surgery.”

Masks also potentially played a part in the number of plastic surgery procedures, as one surgeon suggested that the ability to hide potential bruising or swelling encouraged a lot of Americans to undergo the surgeries, while another surgeon told the outlet that people have also begun seeking consultations for concerns that have been highlighted by mask-wearing, such as forehead wrinkles or lines around the eyes.

As for the number of body-related procedures, surgeons believe the numbers are linked to the decrease in exercise that some Americans experienced as a result of the pandemic.

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