What's the Most Popular Cosmetic Procedure?

Plastic Surgeries and Cosmetic Procedures Rose by 44% in 2004

Reviewed by Brunilda Nazario, MD on February 17, 2005
From the WebMD Archives

Feb. 16, 2005 -- A flood of reality television shows and media coverage on plastic surgery and cosmetic procedures may have inspired millions to opt for the growing array of face- and figure-enhancing options now available.

A new report shows the number of surgical and nonsurgical cosmetic procedures performed in the U.S. rose by 44% in 2004 to nearly 11.9 million.

The biggest increase in 2004 was in nonsurgical cosmetic procedures, including wrinkle-erasing injections of Botox. Nonsurgical procedures such as Botox, laser hair removal, and chemical peels rose by 51% over the previous year.

Plastic surgeries such as liposuction, breast augmentation, and facelifts grew by 17%.

"I believe at least some of this upward trend may be attributable to increased media coverage of plastic surgery in 2004," says Peter Fodor, MD, president of the American Society for Aesthetic and Plastic Surgery, which compiled the report. "People have had many more opportunities to see firsthand what plastic surgery is like and what it can do for others."

Liposuction and Botox were the most popular plastic surgeries and nonsurgical cosmetic procedures, respectively, performed in 2004, but the popularity of various procedures varied slightly between men and women.

Top 2004 Surgical and Nonsurgical Cosmetic Procedures Overall:
Plastic Surgeries:Nonsurgical Cosmetic Procedures:
Breast augmentation334,052Laser hair removal1,411,899
Eyelid surgery290,343Chemical peel1,110,401
Facelift157,061Hyaluronic acid
(Hylaform, Restylane)
Top Cosmetic Procedures Among Women:
Plastic Surgeries:Nonsurgical Cosmetic Procedures:
Breast augmentation334,052Laser hair removal1,215,052
Eyelid surgery249,293Microdermabrasion999,095
Tummy Tuck145,315Chemical peel977,277
Facelift145,240Hyaluronic acid
(Hylaform, Restylane)
Top Cosmetic Procedures Among Men:
Plastic Surgeries:Nonsurgical Cosmetic Procedures:
Liposuction61,638Botox injection311,916
Eyelid surgery41,050Laser hair removal196,847
Rhinoplasty38,989Chemical peel133,124
Male breast reduction19,636Microdermabrasion99,221
Hair transplantation19,503Laser skin resurfacing69,427

Trends in Cosmetic Procedures

Women accounted for 90% of all cosmetic procedures in 2004, and the number of cosmetic procedures performed on women increased by 49% compared with 2003. Plastic surgeries increased by 21% and nonsurgical procedures rose by 57%.

Among men, the number of overall cosmetic procedures rose by 8%, although the number of plastic surgeries declined by 11%.

Researchers say nearly half of cosmetic procedures were performed in a doctor's office, nearly 30% in freestanding surgical facilities, and 24% in hospitals.

Americans spent just under $12.5 billion on cosmetic procedures, with $7.7 billion spent on plastic surgery and $4.7 billion on nonsurgical cosmetic procedures.