Derm Appeal Blog

Advancements in aesthetic medicine technology, increased availability and accessibility of treatments, as well as the overall decrease in stigma associated with plastic surgery have all contributed to the boom in cosmetic procedures witnessed over the past several years. In part due to the rise of social media,  growing acceptance has led an increased number of consumers – who cite improving self-esteem and self-confidence as their top motivation – to undergo cosmetic surgery. This is reflected by the steadily rising number of cosmetic procedures performed, which grew by nearly a quarter million from 2017 to 2018 and continues to rise.

According to the latest report from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), American consumers spent over $16.5 billion on plastic surgery and minimally invasive procedures last year – 4% more than in 2017. The new report not only outlines the rates at which surgical procedures were performed for a total of 17.7 million cosmetic procedures, but it also reveals national average surgeon fees for both surgical and minimally invasive procedures.

Most Popular Cosmetic Procedures

Out of a total of 1.8 million cosmetic surgical procedures, the most popular was breast augmentation with 313,735 procedures conducted in 2018. Liposuction was the second top procedure (258,558) followed by rhinoplasty (213,780), eyelid surgery (206,529), and tummy tuck (130,081). Among the 15.9 million minimally invasive procedures conducted in 2018, Botulinum Toxin Type A injections were the most popular with 7.4 million treatments performed. Soft tissue fillers were second with 2.6 million procedures, followed by chemical peels (1.3 million), laser hair removal (1 million), and microdermabrasion (709,413).

Most and Least Expensive Cosmetic Procedures 

Two of the top five most popular cosmetic surgical procedures are also some of the most expensive –  tummy tuck and nose reshaping. The average national surgeon fees for these were $6,253 and $5,350, respectively. Meanwhile, the most expensive surgical procedure – a facelift – averaged $7,655 in surgeon fees in 2018. Conversely, among the least expensive surgical procedures – which included the remaining three of the top five – were breast augmentation with an average fee of $3,824, liposuction ($3,518), eyelid surgery ($3,156), and labiaplasty ($2,924).

The number of minimally invasive cosmetic procedures greatly outnumbers that of surgical ones; the cost associated with such treatments is significantly lower and thus more affordable for consumers. Out of the most-performed minimally invasive procedures, chemical peels and wrinkle treatment injections had the highest national average surgeon fees at $669 and $397, respectively. On the other hand, other common procedures, such as laser hair removal and microdermabrasion all averaged under $300 in surgeon fees. While most procedures increased in price from 2017, the cost of laser hair removal, chemical peels, and microdermabrasion all decreased by an average of 3.5%.

Many of these surgical and minimally invasive procedures are performed in conjunction with one another, according to Dr. Alan Matarasso, president of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, which not only helps to deliver optimal outcomes, but can prove more economical for patients and profitable for providers.

In the upcoming years, consumers with an increased will to spend money on boosting their self-esteem and a greater acceptance of cosmetic surgery will contribute to the higher than ever national spending totals. As the plastic surgery market continues to trend upward – for both surgical and minimally invasive cosmetic procedures – not just consumer spending may grow, but surgeon fees and practice revenues are likely to increase congruently. The high demand evidenced in the ASPS’s report implicates the forthcoming need for more aesthetic medicine providers, including surgeons, physicians, and non-physician health practitioners, to perform procedures and ensure optimal patient care.


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