Most Popular Plastic Surgery Procedures in 2007


Beth Longware Duff, Medical Editor

Beth Longware Duff is an experienced writer and reporter whose work on a wide variety of topics has been published in numerous newspapers and magazines. Her health and medical writing credits include nationally distributed videos for the March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation, and she is the recipient of numerous awards including an American Cancer Society Media Award and a New England Press Association Award for Health Reporting. She holds a degree in Communications from Ithaca College.

May 21 2008

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Plastic Surgery Trends: Who's doing what, and where?

The continuing boon in plastic surgery in the United States is driven by numbers – BIG numbers – like 11.8 million (cosmetic surgical and nonsurgical procedures performed in 2007) and 12.4 billion (dollars spent), according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS). But the smaller numbers are equally intriguing.

Take the regional distribution of plastic surgery procedures, for example. ASPS broke down the country into five regions: New England/Middle Atlantic, East and West North Central, South Atlantic, East and West South Central, and Mountain/Pacific. And, as it turns out, each region distinguishes itself in some way when it comes to cosmetic surgery.

The largest percentage of plastic surgery procedures overall (29%) were performed in the Mountain/Pacific region, while the South Central region accounted for the least at just 14%. New England/Middle Atlantic tied South Atlantic at 21%, and North Central just barely beat its neighbor to the south with 15%.

Focusing in on cosmetic surgical procedures, the Mountain/Pacific states once again reigned supreme, sweeping four of the top five categories: breast augmentation (37%), liposuction (31%), eyelid surgery (34%), and tummy tuck (30%). It missed out only on nose reshaping, which the New England/Middle Atlantic states embraced with 29%.

There was a similar trend in cosmetic minimally invasive plastic surgery procedures, where Mountain/Pacific dominated the top three categories: Botox® Cosmetic (30%), chemical peel (31%) and laser hair removal (33%). Microdermabrasion, which ranked fourth nationwide, proved most popular in the East, with New England/Middle Atlantic claiming 26% of the market. Interestingly, fifth-ranked sclerotherapy (treatment of spider veins) was most popular in the South Central region, where a whopping 37% of those procedures were performed. South Atlantic came in a distant second at 21%.

And then there are the "Gee, that's interesting" statistics. Did you know that 48% of all hair transplants and 39% of all cheek implants in the U.S. last year were done in the South Central region? Or that while buttock lifts (30%) were the rage in North Central, folks in the South Atlantic preferred buttock implants (25%)? New England/Middle Atlantic led the country in calf augmentation (27%), with South Atlantic just a stride off at 26%. Also popular in the Northeast: lower body lifts (30%) and upper arm lifts (27%).

Some suggest that weather seems to play the most influential role in why a specific plastic surgery procedure is more popular in one region than another. The theory is that in states known for year-round warm and sunny weather (think California and Arizona), people wear less clothing and consequently are more body conscious. And, of course, the West Coast is home to Hollywood and all the glitz and glamour it exudes.

"Both help to explain why the Mountain/Pacific states led the country in a number of figure-oriented surgical procedures, including breast augmentation, breast lift, breast implant removals, liposuction, pectoral implants and tummy tucks," notes By extension, the website theorizes that "people living in states with more variable climates, like New York and Pennsylvania might be more apt to focus on facial surgical procedures," (perhaps to be shown off to best advantage framed by fur-lined hoods and turtlenecks?) And then there's always good ol' personal preference, or people spending their money on the body part they'd most like to improve or enhance.

Whatever the demographics, whatever the reasons, the forecast is for more of the same. Breast augmentation, "mommy makeovers", injectables and noninvasive treatments are all expected to remain popular throughout 2008.