Who had what done in 2016?

The recent release of the annual audit of BAAPS – the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons – has indicated an overall decrease in cosmetic surgical procedures in the UK, and has had a lot of exposure in the media, so let’s break down the figures and speculate upon the reasons.

One important thing to note before we plunge in, however: the figures apply only to BAAPS member surgeries (of which our surgery isn’t one, and neither are the majority of the larger cosmetic surgery groups), and there may be other factors that have figured in this drop, such as the fact that BAAPS member surgeries are highly discreet and tend not to advertise their services. In any case, here are the main points:

A 40% drop in cosmetic surgical procedures

…which is the lowest number of procedures in nearly a decade, after a record year in 2015. There are many and varied possible reasons for this: the financial uncertainty in the UK wrought by the EU referendum is seen as a key factor, with people reining in their spending for the time being.

A Guardian article pinned the blame on the rise of ‘relatable’ social media celebrities (who are usually paid to sell beauty products). Funnily enough, these sam

e people were blamed for the rise of young people undergoing cosmetic surgery a year or so before…

The decline of the browlift

The biggest drop amongst cosmetic procedures in 2016 was the browlift – the surgical procedure which reduces wrinkle lines across the forehead and raises sagging brows. What was the reason for this 71% drop? Nobody seems to be able to put their finger on it. Maybe people were too busy frowning in 2016…

A drop in breast augmentation and breast reduction

The breast-job phenomenon is currently a thing of the past. Some point to former champions of the enhanced breast – such as Katie Price and Victoria Beckham – having their implants removed as one of the key factors for this, but it’s also worth pointing out that we live in an era where the bottom has become more prominent – literally – and there’s a lot that women can do to improve the appearance of that without automatically resorting to surgery.

The rise of non-surgical procedures

It’s not all bad news for aesthetic surgeries: more and more people are turning towards the quick, effective, easy and cheap(er) benefits of non-invasive procedures, such as Botox, thread-lifting and body contouring. There are plenty of reasons for this: firstly, clients are smartening up and seeking a subtle modification over a huge change to their appearance, want less downtime, and they’d rather pay in instalments for a series of treatments than shell out for a major transformation.

For example, there was a 42% drop in liposuction treatment across BAAPS clinics in 2016, but we’d be willing to wager that there had been a rise in body contouring procedures at the same time. This indicates that instead of expecting the surgery to completely transform their body shape, clients are taking more care of their diet and lifestyle, relying on aesthetic procedures to provide the final ‘tweak’.

When you get past the doom-and-gloom of these figures, there is a lot to be positive about here. It’s clear that we’re seeing a rise in awareness of what a good cosmetic surgeon can and can’t do, and a savvier client base that’s more interested in subtle enhancement than a complete overhaul. We await next year’s results with interest.