Making the List


You may think that because elective procedures in many cases were put on pause during the pandemic that the demand for plastic surgery procedures went down. What happened is entirely the opposite. 

According to a recent report from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the demand for plastic surgery and aesthetic services actually went up. 

The ASPS listed the top most sought-after surgical procedures for 2020 in the report, along with the most popular minimally invasive treatments people chose last year. Additionally, the organization made a few predictions about what this year will mean for plastic surgery and aesthetic services. 

Note: The ASPS report accounted for an average of 8.1 weeks in 2020 in which no plastic surgery procedures were performed. 

A Changing Attitude About Plastic Surgery During COVID-19

Before the ASPS broke down the data, it reported on the current perception or feelings about plastic surgery held by Americans at this point in the COVID-19 pandemic. The organization asked more than 1,000 women in a national survey fielded by market firm Equation Research. Survey participants were asked how they felt about plastic surgery in general, particular plastic surgery procedures, the top plastic surgery procedures and treatments, and if they were interested or likely to pursue a plastic surgery service. 

Eleven percent of women surveyed responded that they were more interested in plastic surgery procedures or non-surgical aesthetic services such as Botox or dermal fillers than before the pandemic. 

This number is even higher (24 percent) among women who had plastic surgery or an aesthetic treatment before COVID-19 hit. 

And, 35 percent of the women who participated in the survey said they planned to have at least one cosmetic surgical procedure or minimally invasive treatment in 2021. 

But, Why? 

One of the primary reasons people sought out plastic and aesthetic procedures during the pandemic is that they saw themselves much more often than before. Think about it: If you’re on a Zoom call every day seeing a nose that you didn’t like even before the pandemic, you’re not going to like it anymore during or after the pandemic. 

Another reason people were choosing to undergo cosmetic surgery procedures during the COVID-19 pandemic is that they could recover from “getting work done” while they were at home. 

Finally, many survey participants also underwent plastic surgery or were considering plastic surgery because of their weight during the stay-at-home order. 

ASPS 2020 Top Procedures

While there was a 15 percent decrease in the total number of plastic surgery and cosmetic procedures in 2020, the decline is associated with the 8.1 weeks on average that practices were closed due to quarantine rules. 

Top 5 Cosmetic Surgical Procedures

The top five cosmetic surgical procedures performed in 2020 were:

  1. Nose reshaping (352,555 procedures). The nose-reshaping procedure, also known as rhinoplasty or a nose job, is a plastic surgery procedure that changes the nose’s appearance, form, function or shape. Due to advances in technology, nose reshaping can be minimally invasive.
  2. Eyelid surgery (352,112 procedures). Eyelid surgery, also known as the eyelid-lift or blepharoplasty procedure, is a plastic surgery operation designed to help correct sagging or drooping eyelids resulting from aging or genetics. Individuals who undergo eyelid surgery report looking and feeling younger after their procedure.
  3. Face-lift (234,374 procedures). A face-lift, also knowns as rhytidectomy, is a type of plastic surgery procedure used to give a more youthful facial appearance by lifting sagging skin. The face-lift procedure can be minimally invasive, causing it to increase in demand in recent years. 
  4. Liposuction (211,067 procedures). Liposuction, also known as lipo, is a plastic surgery procedure that takes away unwanted stubborn body fat in areas such as the midsection or love-handle region. Liposuction is ideal for when individuals meet their goal weight but are left with stubborn fat in some areas. Liposuction is very common in the United States. 
  5. Breast augmentation (193,073 procedures). Breast augmentation, also known as breast implants or breast implant augmentation, can enhance the size and shape of the breasts. Breast implant augmentation can also be used for women who have undergone the mastectomy procedure to restore the appearance of the breasts.

Some non-surgical procedures were popular in 2020, too. The top minimally invasive procedure for 2020 was Botulinum toxin type a, with 4.4 million injections. Other procedures (listed in order of popularity) include:

Soft tissue fillers (3.4 million procedures). This category includes fillers such as Juvederm, Radiesse and Restylane, which can help replace lost facial volume and resolve wrinkles, lines and creases.

Laser skin resurfacing (997,245). Laser skin resurfacing helps to improve the appearance of the skin, hyperpigmentation and skin tone.

Chemical peels (931,473). Chemical peels use various skin-safe acids to cause the skin to peel, revealing new, healthy skin below. 

Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) treatment (827,409). IPL can lessen the appearance of dark spots, such as sunspots, freckles and other areas of hyperpigmentation. 

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