Breast Augmentation Is Big: A Look At The Most Popular Cosmetic Procedures In The United States

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Whether they’re opting for a modest and subtle increase or choosing a dramatic boost in volume, women are increasingly turning to plastic surgery to change the shape and size of their breasts. According to recently released data from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the most popular cosmetic surgical procedure in the United States in 2017 was breast augmentation. Michigan’s Dr. Brad Bengtson—a nationally recognized researcher, speaker, and educator on the subject of breast implants—noted that not only did breast augmentation top the list again this year, it rose in popularity.


Augmentation mammoplasty,” as it’s technically known, grew 3 percent in the total number of procedures performed from 2016 to 2017. That’s a 41 percent increase from the year 2000, indicating that more and more women have been choosing the surgery since the turn of the millennium.


“The United States of 2018 is very different from the United States of 50, 40, 30, or even 20 years ago,” Dr. Bengtson said. “While breast augmentation was once talked about in hushed tones and speculated on by a woman’s friends or admirers, the surgery is now a mainstream and common procedure. What some people once saw as taboo is currently viewed more as a viable and empowering option for any woman who wants to add volume to her breasts.”


Consider, also, that recent decades have seen advances in implant technology, giving today’s patients a breadth of choice not available to women in years past. The ability to greatly customize an augmentation procedure—in many cases choosing the shape, size, material, texture, and more of an implant—has undoubtedly contributed to augmentation’s growing popularity.


Also increasing in numbers is liposuction, which rose 5 percent from 2016 to 2017. According to the data, the U.S. saw 246,354 liposuction surgeries performed last year, making it the second most popular cosmetic surgery in the country.


Liposuction’s rise may also be attributed to a growing number of options, both in terms of where it can be applied on the body and in the techniques used. Once a surgery that required manual and repetitive physical motion to loosen fat cells so they could be suctioned out with a cannula, the procedure now includes variations that involve lasers used to heat and liquefy fat while also tightening and toning the skin for an ultimately slimmer and sleeker look. An increase in precision and a decrease in the amount of time needed for the procedure itself and for recovery after has seemingly proven attractive to men and women who want to contour their body—whether by losing their love handles or reducing a double chin.


Third in terms of popularity in the ASPS report is rhinoplasty, a nose-shaping surgery that actually fell two percent between 2016 and 2017. All told, there were still 218,924 rhinoplasties performed, making it the most popular of all the face-focused cosmetic surgery options.


Behind nose surgery, with 209,571 applications, is blepharoplasty. This procedure, more commonly known as eyelid surgery, addresses drooping, sagging, and puffiness that can impact the lower or upper lids on the right eye, left eye, or both. Unlike its fellow surgeries in the top five, its popularity remained essentially fixed over 2016 and 2017.


Finally, abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) filled the fifth slot, with 129,753 procedures performed in 2017. This marked a bit of an upset, since it took over from facelift, which landed fifth place in 2016. The switch is the result of a 2 percent increase in tummy tuck’s popularity from the year prior.


Cosmetic surgical procedures on the whole—which includes everything from breast lifts and reduction to ear surgery to butt augmentation—mirrored breast augmentation, liposuction, and tummy tuck in their rise. The industry saw an overall increase of 1 percent, with the total number of surgeries performed growing from 1,780,987 in 2016 to 1,790,832 in 2017.


“As we continue to improve the safety, availability, and outcomes of cosmetic surgery procedures, I expect these numbers to continue to increase in the coming years,” said Dr. Bengtson. “Today, in 2018, there is little to prevent anyone who wants to address any aspect of their appearance from doing so.”


Learn more about any of the procedures mentioned here by contacting Dr. Brad Bengtson and his team at the Bengtson Center for Aesthetics and Plastic Surgery in Grand Rapids. Send a message online or call 616.588.8880 to inquire about a consultation.