Beauty Standards and Popular Plastic Surgery Procedures

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Jill Daniels, Freelance Medical Writer

Jill Daniels is a freelance health writer based in New York City. She spent several years writing for WebMD, including their Weight Loss Clinic and Fertility Center programs. Jill has also written/reported for publications including InStyle, People and Women's Own. She received a degree in journalism for Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism.


January 25 2008

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Standards of beauty, particularly female beauty, are high in the United States. It's difficult to turn on the TV or pick up a magazine without learning about the latest star to have breast augmentation or a nose job. Sometimes it's fact. Sometimes it's fiction. Either way it's making a comment about our beauty standards.

We live in a society obsessed with beautiful people. While classic beauty is rare and fleeting, many Americans have embraced cosmetic surgery to keep us looking younger – and better. While celebrities tend to garner the most attention for their cosmetic enhancements, thousands of "regular" women and men in the U.S. are also opting for cosmetic procedures.

Top Cosmetic Plastic Surgery Procedures

In 2006, almost 11 million surgical and nonsurgical cosmetic procedures were performed in the United States, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS). This represented a 7% increase over 2005. Because standards of beauty are different for women than for men (anchor tag to male stats lower in article), the most popular procedures for the genders were slightly different.

The top five cosmetic surgeries for women in 2006 were:

  1. Breast augmentation - 329,000 surgeries performed
  2. Liposuction - 268,000 surgeries performed
  3. Nose reshaping - 223,000 surgeries performed
  4. Eyelid surgery -196,000 surgeries performed
  5. Tummy tuck - 140,000 surgeries performed

The top five nonsurgical cosmetic procedures for women in 2006 were:

  1. Botox® injections - 3.8 million procedures performed
  2. Chemical peel - 965,000 procedures performed
  3. Hyaluronic acid - 754,000 procedures performed
  4. Laser hair removal - 714,000 procedures performed
  5. Microdermabrasion - 634,000 procedures performed

It is interesting to note that beauty and aesthetic standards may have shifted a bit. Last year, 2006, was the first time that breast augmentation outpaced liposuction for women since 1997. And since 1997 women's cosmetic surgeries are up 123% and nonsurgical procedures have increased 749%.

Cosmetic Surgery Is Not Only For Women

While standards of beauty are different for men than for women, guys are also stopping by their doctors' offices for cosmetic enhancements. In 2006, almost one million men had cosmetic procedures, an increase of 8% since 2000, but the number's actually down 7% from 2005, according to the ASPS.

The top five cosmetic surgeries for men in 2006 were:

  1. Nose reshaping - 85,000 surgeries performed
  2. Eyelid surgery - 37,000 surgeries performed
  3. Liposuction - 35,000 surgeries performed
  4. Hair transplantation - 20,000 surgeries performed
  5. Male breast reduction - 20,000 surgeries performed

The five nonsurgical cosmetic procedures for men in 2006 were:

  1. Botox injections - 284,000 procedures performed
  2. Laser hair removal - 173,000 procedures performed
  3. Microdermabrasion (182,000 procedures performed)
  4. Chemical peel - 98,000 procedures performed
  5. Laser skin resurfacing - 32,000 procedures performed

Where Procedures Are Performed Is Changing, Too

Hospitals were once the location of choice – or necessity – for cosmetic surgery. Now, very often doctors will perform minimally invasive treatments in their offices or at an outpatient facility. This is not only more convenient, but it can also lower the cost of the cosmetic procedure.

Can Popular Cosmetic Procedures Fix What You Need?

If you're concerned about your appearance and feel you could benefit from an injection here or a tuck there, you're certainly not alone. Beauty standards dictate that we should look our very best. Luckily, advances in cosmetic surgery and cosmetic procedures can help us do so. So, whether you were born a classic beauty or not, your doctor may be able to help.