Plastic Surgery Surged in 2010

Woman receives botox injection
Woman receives botox injection. (Image credit: © Sergiy Palamarchuk |

Last year was a good year for plastic surgery. Americans of both genders and across ethnic and demographic groups had more work done in 2010 to improve their appearances than in 2009.

There were 13.1 million cosmetic procedures, a 5 percent increase from the prior year, while reconstructive procedures, such as work to remove a tumor, were up by 2 percent, according to an American Society for Plastic Surgeons report.

Not surprisingly, women had the bulk of plastic surgery – 91 percent of procedures in 2010.

The most popular cosmetic surgical procedures for women were:

  • Breast augmentation: 296,000 procedures, up 2 percent from 2009
  • Nose reshaping: 189,000 procedures, down 1 percent
  • Liposuction: 179,000 procedures, up 2 percent
  • Eyelid surgery, 177,000 procedures, up three percent
  • Tummy tuck: 112,000 procedures, up 1 percent

The most popular less-invasive procedures were:

  • Botulinum Toxin Type A (Botox): 5 million procedures, up 12 percent from 2009
  • Soft-tissue fillers, injected into the skin to make it appear fuller: 1.7 million procedures, up 2 percent
  • Chemical peels, used to improve the texture of skin: 1.1 million procedures, no change
  • Laser hair removal: 773,000 procedures, up 5 percent
  • Microdermabrasion: used to exfoliate the outer layer of skin: 666,000 procedures, down 9 percent ['Drive-thru' Cosmetic Procedures Soar]

Men accounted for 9 percent of cosmetic procedures, as they had in at least the previous two years. The most popular cosmetic surgical procedures for men in 2010 were:

  • Nose reshaping: 64,000 procedures, down 4 percent from 2009
  • Eyelid surgery: 31,000 procedures, up 4 percent
  • Liposuction: 24,000, up 7 percent
  • Male breast reduction: 18,000, up 6 percent
  • Hair transplantation: 13,000, up 2 percent

The five most popular less-invasive procedures for men were:

  • Botulinum Toxin Type A (Botox): 337,000, up 9 percent
  • Laser hair removal: 165,000, up 4 percent
  • Microdermabrasion: 158,000, down 10 percent
  • Chemical peels: 90,000, down 3 percent
  • Soft-tissue fillers: 78,000, up 10 percent

Even the average Joe is seeking an appearance boost, according to plastic surgeons.

"Typically people think of celebrities and high-profile men going under the knife," said Dr. Stephen Baker, an American Society for Plastic Surgeons member based in Washington, D.C. "And while that may be true, the typical male cosmetic surgery patient that I see is an average guy who wants to look as good as he feels. Most of my patients are 'men's men,' the kind of guy you might not think would have plastic surgery."

Baby Boomers, who are now reaching retirement age, are the new face of the male plastic surgery trend, Baker added. “They want to look good. So when they have the financial means to do it, they are ready to do it now,” he said.

You can follow LiveScience senior writer Wynne Parry on Twitter @Wynne_Parry.

Wynne Parry
Wynne was a reporter at The Stamford Advocate. She has interned at Discover magazine and has freelanced for The New York Times and Scientific American's web site. She has a masters in journalism from Columbia University and a bachelor's degree in biology from the University of Utah.