Trendy Plastic Surgery Overhyped?

4 'Fringe' Procedures Not Too Popular, Study Shows

Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD on March 17, 2006
From the WebMD Archives

March 17, 2006 -- Plastic surgery has become much more common in recent years, but some procedures remain on the fringe of the field, a new study shows.

The American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) lists four operations getting lots of media attention but garnering few patients. Here are those procedures and how many times they were done in the U.S. in 2005:

  • Vaginal "rejuvenation" (tightening vaginal muscles or changing the vagina's appearance): 793
  • Buttock implants: 542
  • Calf augmentation: 337
  • Pectoral implants: 206

America's leading cosmetic plastic surgery in 2005 was liposuction, which was done more than 323,000 times. Rhinoplasty (nose reshaping) was in second place with more than 298,000 procedures. Breast augmentation, in third place, was done more than 291,000 times in 2005, according to the ASPS.

Data come from a national database of plastic surgery procedures and an annual survey sent to more than 17,000 board-certified physicians in specialties most likely to perform plastic surgery.

Media Attention Outpacing Patients

"These trendy new procedures that are supposedly all the rage around the country simply are not being performed in large numbers," says ASPS president Bruce Cunningham, MD, in a news release.

"We haven't seen rampant interest in these procedures in our practices and now the statistics show how few of these procedures are actually being performed," he continues.

Cunningham adds, "That's not to say that these procedures may not increase in popularity in the future, but right now, they are not as popular as they have been portrayed in the media."

The survey tracked those four "fringe" procedures for the first time in 2005, so any trends in those operations' popularity aren't clear.

Show Sources

SOURCES: American Society of Plastic Surgeons, "2005 National Plastic Surgery Statistics." WebMD Feature Archive: "Better Sex for Women?" News release, American Society of Plastic Surgeons.
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