Cosmetic Surgery Data Hub
1st August, 2022
Article

Written by

Georgia Briscoe - Director of Medical Law Services

Cosmetic Surgery Statistics UK

 

Cosmetic surgery has been popular in the UK for many years, with various trends coming and going. But which surgical procedures are the most common and what is influencing Brits to go under the knife? We’ve collected some key facts and statistics to highlight cosmetic surgery’s popularity in the UK and to help you make informed decisions.

At Patient Claim Line, we surveyed 2,000 Brits to understand the nation’s attitudes towards facial cosmetic surgery and the factors that influence individuals’ decisions when planning to have a procedure.

Alongside this, we have collated additional data from a number of trusted sources in the cosmetic surgery industry which will be referenced throughout this collection of statistics.

 

How Common Is Cosmetic Surgery in the UK?

 

Within our survey, we discovered that one in three Brits (32%) have had or have considered facial cosmetic surgery such as cheek enhancements, full facelifts or hairline surgery.

Gen Z is the demographic that is most likely to consider having facial cosmetic surgery:

  • 36% of Brits aged 18-24 have considered getting facial cosmetic surgery
  • 32% of Brits aged 25-34 have considered getting facial cosmetic surgery
  • 24% of Brits aged 35-44 have considered getting facial cosmetic surgery
  • 11% of Brits aged 45-54 have considered getting facial cosmetic surgery
  • 11% of Brits aged 55-64 have considered getting facial cosmetic surgery
  • 14% of Brits aged 65+ have considered getting facial cosmetic surgery

Men are more likely to consider getting facial cosmetic surgery than women:

  • 22% of male respondents said that they would consider getting facial cosmetic surgery
  • 19% of female respondents said that they would consider getting facial cosmetic surgery

However, women are more likely to actually go ahead with a cosmetic surgery procedure. 92% of all cosmetic procedures in 2022 were performed on women, whereas only 7% of procedures were performed on men.

 

What Are The Most Sought-After Cosmetic Procedures?

 

Our survey found that eye socket/under eye or lip surgery are the most sought-after facial cosmetic procedures in the UK:

 

  • 29% of Brits have considered getting cosmetic surgery on their eye socket or under eye
  • 29% of Brits have considered getting cosmetic surgery on their lips
  • 26% of Brits have considered getting cosmetic surgery on their nose
  • 26% of Brits have considered getting cosmetic surgery on their forehead
  • 26% of Brits have considered getting a full facelift
  • 25% of Brits have considered getting cosmetic surgery on their cheeks
  • 24% of Brits have considered getting cosmetic surgery on their jaw
  • 24% of Brits have considered getting cosmetic surgery on their hairline

 

Brits aged between 18 and 44 are most likely to consider getting cosmetic surgery on their lips, nose, hairline and forehead, whilst Brits aged 45 and above are most likely to get cosmetic surgery on their eye socket or under eye:

 

  • 39% of Brits aged 18-24 have considered getting cosmetic surgery on their lips
  • 32% of Brits aged 25-34 have considered getting cosmetic surgery on their hairline
  • 31% of Brits aged 35-44 have considered getting cosmetic surgery on their lips and nose
  • 32% of Brits aged 45-54 have considered getting cosmetic surgery on their eye socket/under eye
  • 29% of Brits aged 55-64 have considered getting cosmetic surgery on their eye socket/under eye
  • 41% of Brits aged 65+ have considered getting cosmetic surgery on their eye socket/under eye

 

Women are most likely to want cosmetic surgery on their eye socket or under eye, whereas men are most likely to want cosmetic surgery on their lips:

 

  • 28% of women have considered getting cosmetic surgery on their eye socket/under eye
  • 34% of men have considered getting cosmetic surgery on their lips

 

Moving away from just facial cosmetic surgery and looking at all available procedures, figures show that breast augmentation is the most common cosmetic surgery procedure among women, with 6,640 women recorded as having this type of surgery in 2022.

 

Rhinoplasty is the most common cosmetic surgery procedure among men, with 388 of these surgeries performed on men in 2022.

 

Factors Influencing Surgical Cosmetic Procedures

 

Almost 2 in 5 Brits (38%) admit that they feel societal pressure to improve their appearance.

 

Gen Z women are the most likely to be influenced by societal pressure to improve their appearance:

 

  • 58% of Brits aged 18-24 say that they feel a societal pressure to improve their appearance
  • 55% of Brits aged 25-34 say that they feel a societal pressure to improve their appearance
  • 45% of Brits aged 35-44 say that they feel a societal pressure to improve their appearance
  • 27% of Brits aged 45-54 say that they feel a societal pressure to improve their appearance
  • 22% of Brits aged 55-64 say that they feel a societal pressure to improve their appearance
  • 28% of Brits aged 65+ say that they feel a societal pressure to improve their appearance

 

  • 41% of female respondents say that they feel a societal pressure to improve their appearance
  • 33% of male respondents say that they feel a societal pressure to improve their appearance

 

We have found that the following factors are most likely to influence Brits to undergo facial surgery:

  • Fixing an injury: 33% of Brits say that wanting to fix an injury has influenced their decision to want facial cosmetic surgery
  • Social media: 33% of Brits say that social media has influenced their decision to want facial cosmetic surgery
  • Peers: 32% of Brits say that their peers have influenced their decision to want facial cosmetic surgery
  • Influencers: 30% of Brits say that influencers have influenced their decision to want facial cosmetic surgery
  • Filters: 30% of Brits say that filters on social media apps such as Snapchat have influenced their decision to want facial cosmetic surgery
  • Bullying: 29% of Brits say that being bullied for their appearance has influenced their decision to want facial cosmetic surgery

 

According to our survey, the top two factors influencing young people to undergo facial cosmetic surgery are influencers and pressure from their peers.

For Brits aged 65 and above, wanting to fix an injury is the most common factor influencing their decision to undergo facial cosmetic surgery.

 

  • 45% of Brits aged 18-24 say that both influencers and their peers have influenced their decision to want facial cosmetic surgery
  • 30% of Brits aged 25-34 say that social media has influenced their decision to want facial cosmetic surgery
  • 34% of Brits aged 35-44 say that their peers have influenced their decision to want facial cosmetic surgery
  • 39% of Brits aged 45-54 say that wanting to fix an injury has influenced their decision to want facial cosmetic surgery
  • 22% of Brits aged 55-64 say that being bullied for their appearance has influenced their decision to want facial cosmetic surgery
  • 44% of Brits aged 65+ say that wanting to fix an injury has influenced their decision to want facial cosmetic surgery

 

Women are most likely to be influenced by social media to undergo facial cosmetic surgery, whilst men are most likely to be influenced by wanting to fix an injury:

  • 28% of female respondents say that social media has influenced their decision to want facial cosmetic surgery
  • 42% of male respondents say that wanting to fix an injury has influenced their decision to want facial cosmetic surgery

 

The Impact of Social Media on Cosmetic Surgery Procedures in the UK

The rise in interest towards cosmetic procedures can be linked to social media trends perpetuated not only by celebrities and influencers but also by the platforms themselves.

“Instagram Face” and “Snapchat Dysmorphia” are two terms that have been coined in reaction to how the use of makeup, cosmetic surgery and filters on social media have popularised specific standards of beauty, particularly among women.

Features on social media such as facial enhancement and filters have been criticised for portraying and encouraging unrealistic beauty aesthetics that could not be achieved in real life without the use of cosmetic surgery and could lead to some wanting or attempting to recreate these looks at the detriment of their health and safety.

There are over 100,000 posts on TikTok under #cosmeticsurgery in which users share their knowledge and experiences of these procedures. Out of the top surgical procedures for men and women, the following were found to have the most posts on the platform:

 

 

The Rise of Cosmetic Surgery

Recent figures from the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) show that the number of cosmetic procedures in 2022 exceeded pre-pandemic levels and saw their highest annual rise since 2004.

There were a total of 31,057 procedures recorded in 2022, a 102% increase from the previous year.

Women underwent 28,769 of these procedures, a 101% increase from the previous year, whilst men underwent 2,325 cosmetic surgery procedures in 2022, a 121% increase from 2021.

The top 10 cosmetic surgery procedures for women saw the following increases from 2021 to 2022:

 

  1. Breast augmentation: 6,640 procedures – 67% increase
  2. Breast reduction: 5,270 procedures – 122% increase
  3. Abdominoplasty: 3,241 procedures – 129% increase
  4. Liposuction: 2,669 procedures – 135% increase
  5. Blepharoplasty (eyelid surgery): 2,439 procedures – 74% increase
  6. Rhinoplasty: 1,832 procedures – 72% increase
  7. Face/neck lift: 1,640 procedures – 92% increase
  8. Fat transfer: 1,491 procedures – 128% increase
  9. Breast implant removal: 996 procedures – 70% increase
  10. Labiaplasty: 907 procedures – 0% increase

 

The top 10 cosmetic surgery procedures for men saw the following increases from 2021 to 2022:

 

  1. Rhinoplasty: 388 procedures – 45% increase
  2. Chest reduction: 343 procedures – 158% increase
  3. Blepharoplasty (eyelid surgery): 339 procedures – 105% increase
  4. Liposuction: 333 procedures – 150% increase
  5. Otoplasty: (ear correction): 251 procedures – 72% increase
  6. Abdominoplasty: 172 procedures – 121% increase
  7. Face/neck lift: 132 procedures – 181% increase
  8. Fat transfer: 96 procedures – 336% increase
  9. Brow lift: 86 procedures – 310% increase
  10. Breast augmentation: 86 procedures – 0% increase

 

The Rise & Risks of Cosmetic Surgery Tourism

The global medical tourism industry is projected to be valued at around $97.9 billion USD by 2030, with cosmetic surgery being the most common procedure, making up 25% of all medical tourism.

Travelling abroad to receive cosmetic surgery has become a popular choice due to the reduced costs and waiting times, and in some cases, the wider variety of procedures available outside of the UK.

However, according to the BAAPS, the number of surgeries carried out in the UK to correct cosmetic procedures received abroad has increased by 94% in the last three years. It is estimated that these corrective surgeries could cost the NHS around £15,000 per person.

Between 2018 and 2022, 324 patients were recorded as needing corrective surgery in the UK due to having cosmetic surgery abroad in countries such as Lithuania, the Czech Republic and Turkey.

Turkey is the worst offender for botched cosmetic surgeries. 78% of corrective operations in the UK are carried out to fix complications from surgeries undertaken in Turkey and the UK Foreign Office is aware of over 25 Brits who have died in Turkey due to medical procedures received there since January 2019.

Although there are risks associated with any cosmetic procedure and there are plenty of legitimate and safe options for cosmetic surgery abroad, it’s important to do adequate research before choosing to have this kind of procedure outside of the UK.

The following are steps that the NHS and Royal College of Surgeons of England have outlined before undergoing cosmetic surgery abroad:

 

  • Be cautious of holiday packages: You should ensure that you consult directly with a surgeon and have seen the hospital where you will be operated on before considering a holiday package. Attempting to partake in any typical holiday activities such as swimming, sunbathing or drinking alcohol could increase the risk of complications post-surgery.
  • Do your research: Look into the choices of surgeons and hospitals on offer to learn more about what standards they are regulated by and how they may differ from the UK. Find out the qualifications, training, length of experience and number of procedures that your potential surgeon has performed, as well as what language they speak, to help you make an informed decision.
  • Ask questions: Book a consultation with your surgeon beforehand to give yourself an understanding of what the procedure involves, what the limitations are, what the alternatives are and what risks or complications you may experience. You should have two consultations with your surgeon before surgery.
  • Prepare for complications: Make sure you have everything in place should you encounter any complications. Check whether the surgeon or hospital has insurance that could cover you and what your travel insurance covers. Ensure that you have the necessary funds should you need to receive corrective surgery abroad and plan how you will travel home in an emergency.
  • Consider your aftercare: It’s important to have clarity on what your aftercare package covers and what steps you need to take when recovering from your surgery. Air travel after surgery can increase the risk of developing a blood clot, so it is recommended that Brits avoid travel for 5-7 days after procedures such as breast surgery and liposuction, and 9-10 days after facial procedures or tummy tucks.

 

How concerned are Brits about the risks of cosmetic surgery?

Our survey found that 78% of Brits say they are concerned about the risks related to facial cosmetic surgery.

Men are more likely to be concerned about the risks than women:

  • 73% of female respondents said they were concerned about the risks related to facial cosmetic surgery
  • 82% of male respondents said they were concerned about the risks related to facial cosmetic surgery

Brits aged between 45-54 are the demographic most likely to be concerned about facial cosmetic surgery risks, whereas 55 to 64-year-olds are the least concerned:

  • 76% of Brits aged 18-24 are concerned about the risks related to facial cosmetic surgery
  • 77% of Brits aged 25-34 are concerned about the risks related to facial cosmetic surgery
  • 77% of Brits aged 35-44 are concerned about the risks related to facial cosmetic surgery
  • 83% of Brits aged 45-54 are concerned about the risks related to facial cosmetic surgery
  • 70% of Brits aged 55-64 are concerned about the risks related to facial cosmetic surgery
  • 80% of Brits aged 65+ are concerned about the risks related to facial cosmetic surgery

 

If you have unfortunately been left to face the consequences of a faulty or botched cosmetic surgery then you may be entitled to compensation.

Contact our team of specialist negligence lawyers today to find out more.

 

Sources

 

https://baaps.org.uk/media/press_releases/1872/cosmetic_surgery_boom

https://www.newyorker.com/culture/decade-in-review/the-age-of-instagram-face

https://www.bu.edu/articles/2018/snapchat-dysmorphia/

https://www.tiktok.com/

https://itij.com/latest/news/medical-tourism-market-estimated-be-worth-us979-billion-2030

https://www.statista.com/statistics/1414337/share-medical-tourism-worldwide-by-medical-procedure/

https://baaps.org.uk/media/press_releases/1881/baaps_cosmetic_tourism_update

https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/turkey/health

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/cosmetic-procedures/advice/cosmetic-surgery-abroad/

https://www.rcseng.ac.uk/patient-care/cosmetic-surgery/having-surgery-abroad/

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