The wave of post-recession excess which last year resulted in a stratospheric rise in glamour model-inspired boob jobs and summer body-influenced transformations has truly washed over, with new statistics showing Britons have settled into more cautious, rational attitudes towards cosmetic surgery.
New figures from the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (www.baaps.org.uk); the only professional organisation solely dedicated to safety and education in cosmetic surgery, and which represents the vast majority of NHS-trained consultant plastic surgeons in private practice; today reveal that the number of cosmetic ops last year decreased 9% overall since 2013, with some procedures falling considerably more out of favour than others.
‘Tweaked, not tucked’ appears to have become the new aesthetic ideal with the demand for subtle, understated antiaging procedures such as eyelid surgery, face lifts and fat transfer remaining largely unchanged – yet more ‘conspicuous’ treatments such as tummy tucks and nose jobs dropping dramatically. And whilst breast augmentation (boob jobs) kept its top place as the most popular surgical procedure, demand for them plunged by a quarter (23%). Breast reductions, increasingly unavailable on the Health Service, went up by a modest 3%.
Despite a boom over the past decade in male surgery, the men of 2014 largely eschewed cosmetic enhancements – possibly influenced by the preference for the more rugged, facial hair-sporting look currently in fashion – with male figures decreasing by 15% overall. Nose jobs, which were last year’s most popular procedure for men, plummeted by as much as 30% and even ‘moob’ reduction has sagged by 10%. All male procedures, in fact, took a tumble, although less dramatically in terms of subtle treatments such as male eyelid surgery, which barely drooped by 4% and became their most popular op. The ratio of men remained the same as previous years however, with male patients still accounting for roughly one in ten (9%) of all surgical procedures.
Female numbers decreased by 9% overall, although surgical liposuction for women increased in popularity by a considerable 10%, as the backlash against the mostly ineffective non-surgical options for fat removal appeared to continue. The number of total surgical procedures in 2014 was 45,506 and their order of popularity has shifted for the first time in five years.
The BAAPS welcomes these new trends, attributing them to an increasingly educated public which has come to the realisation that surgery is rarely the quick fix it’s widely marketed as. According to Rajiv Grover, consultant plastic surgeon and former President of the BAAPS with responsibility for the UK national audit of cosmetic surgery;
‘The difference between 2013 and 2014 may seem surprising, but the dramatic double-digit rise last year was very clearly a post-austerity ‘boom’, and figures are simply now returning to a more rational level. It might seem counterintuitive that as plastic surgeons we could possibly welcome such a change, but we are pleased that the public are now so much more thoughtful, cautious and educated in their approach to cosmetic surgery.
‘Aesthetic preferences naturally evolve over time – 2014 saw men sporting bushy beards and women bushy eyebrows, as well as a number of ‘enhanced’ celebrities downgrade their implant sizes. In cosmetic surgery the natural, less-is-more look is definitely on the rise as patients opt to be ‘tweaked’ rather than ‘tucked’.’
According to Michael Cadier, consultant plastic surgeon and BAAPS President;
‘With demand for the most subtle anti-ageing procedures such as eyelid surgery and facelifts holding steady, it’s clear that the public of 2014 were after a refreshed or youthful appearance rather than more conspicuous alterations. Proven treatments such as surgical liposuction also continued to rise which is unsurprising, when so many non-surgical alternatives for fat removal seem ineffective.
‘The message to the aesthetic sector is clear: patients want subtle and understated – most refreshingly, they are doing their research, taking their time and coming to us with realistic expectations. At the BAAPS we consider this to be a triumph and, as the only organisation based at the Royal College of Surgeons solely dedicated to advancing safety and training in aesthetic surgery, we’re committed to continue in our mission of promoting education and sensible decision making in cosmetic procedures.’