Plastic surgery is still growing in popularity, despite the fact that insurance companies don’t usually pay for procedures that aren’t medically necessary. While many common plastic surgery procedures are warranted by medical necessity, the top five most popular plastic surgeries are usually performed for cosmetic reasons.
According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), there were 13.1 million cosmetic plastic surgery procedures performed in the United States in 2010, an increase of 5% from 2009. In addition, 5.3 million reconstructive procedures were performed, an increase of 3% from 2009. While they were not one of the top five procedures performed, facelifts saw a dramatic rise of 9% from 2009 to 2010, with almost 113 thousand procedures.
1: Breast Augmentation
Breast augmentation, also called mammaplasty, has been the number one most popular plastic surgery procedure since 2006, with a 2% increase from 2009 to 2010. There were almost 296 thousand breast augmentations in 2010, with an increase of 39% over the decade. Silicon implants are making a comeback in popularity as well, having been used in 60% of all breast implants in 2010, up from 50% in 2009.
Some of the reasons for breast augmentation include enlarging both breasts; replacing a breast that was removed as a result of breast cancer; making asymmetrical breasts equal in size, a condition that can occur naturally or as a result of breastfeeding; and congenital micromastia, a condition that results from breasts that don’t develop during puberty.
Recovery time after breast augmentation surgery can be up to two weeks before a woman can return to her normal activities, or longer for active women who exercise vigorously or participate in sports.
2: Nose Reshaping
Also known as rhinoplasty, nose reshaping was performed in over 252 thousand plastic surgery procedures in 2010, down 1% from 2009. Nose reshaping is usually done in order to resize the nose in accordance with the rest of the face. Other reasons include fixing cosmetic damage to a broken nose or in the case of a deviated septum, in which breathing is inhibited and can be surgically improved.
Rhinoplasty involves removing, rearranging, or reshaping a nose’s bone and cartilage. The recovery time for rhinoplasty is about ten days, during which time the bruising caused by the procedure will heal.
3: Eyelid Reshaping
Eyelid surgery, or blepharoplasty, was performed nearly 209 thousand times in 2010, an increase of 3% from 2009. Eyelid surgery is performed in order to reduce wrinkles, reduce chronic puffiness, remove bags under the eyes, or to remove sagging skin for either cosmetic reasons or because it is impairing vision.
Eyelid surgery can initially cause increased puffiness due to swelling, but this will be reducing significantly within about ten days, which is the average recovery time for blepharoplasty. The swelling and puffiness will continue to go down for anywhere from several weeks to several months.
Liposuction removes fat from areas of the body in order to reduce body size. Just over 203 thousand liposuction surgeries were performed in 2010, a 2% increase from 2009. There are three types of liposuction surgery:
- Tumescent liposuction is the most common kind, in which a saline solution is injected into the targeted area and then both the liquid saline and the fat are suctioned out of the body using a cannula, a small, hollow, metal tube. Fluid retention from the saline is a possible side effect of tumescent liposuction.
- Ultrasonic assisted liposuction uses a cannula that releases ultrasonic energy that melts the fat so it can be suctioned out of the body.
- Cold-laser liposuction uses cold laser beams to similarly melt fat before it is suctioned out of the body. It is less risky than ultrasonic assisted liposuction, which can cause internal and external burns.
Recovery time is one to two weeks, depending on which area of the body the procedure was performed on.
5: Tummy Tuck
Otherwise known as abdominoplasty, the tummy tuck was performed over 116 thousand times in 2010, just a 1% increase from 2009, but a whopping 86% increase over the last decade. The reason for the drastic increase is because a tummy tuck involves removing excess skin—not fat—from the abdominal area, and many women who have loose abdominal skin post pregnancy are prime candidates from this type of plastic surgery.
The recovery time for abdominoplasty is two to three weeks, slightly longer than other forms of plastic surgery, because the stomach skin and muscles are involved in most body movements. For physically active women, it may take even longer to resume their normal athletic activities.