Cosmetic Surgery Expected to Soar

The after-effects of cosmetic surgery. (Image credit: AP Photos.)

By 2015, 17 percent of the residents of the United States will be getting cosmetic procedures, the body enhancement industry predicts.

A new study published by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) predicts there will be more than 55 million cosmetic surgery procedures performed in 2015. That's nearly one procedure for every five Americans, including children, based on U.S. Census Bureau population projections. Of course, the bulk of procedures are done on adults, and some people might get more than one body part fixed in a year.

The industry is well aware of what is driving all this: "Pushing this growth is increasing consumer awareness, direct-to-consumer marketing and advertising, as well as technological advances in non-surgical options," the group said in a statement today.

In 2007, Americans spent more than $13 billion for nearly 11.7 million cosmetic procedures. That's up from nearly 8.5 million procedures in 2001.

Sales sag

Thanks to the bad economy, times are tough in human body shops right now, however.

"While today's economy reflects a slow-down in plastic surgery procedures, the specialty will weather the current decline in economic growth just as it has previous declines, such as the stock market correction after the 2001 Internet bubble," said ASPS President Richard D'Amico, MD. "This prediction for 2015 is exciting."

Some caution might be in order before the nation plunges head-long into fulfilling the industry's expectations.

"Our concern is that with predicted growth and interest in the broad spectrum of cosmetic procedures, patients will look to the closest, easiest solution," said D'Amico. "Potential patients, however, need to know that board-certified plastic surgeons are uniquely qualified with an in-depth medical knowledge of the entire human body. They have the training necessary to accurately assess your individual needs and map health and beauty goals for your entire lifetime."

The study was based on annual ASPS National Clearinghouse of Plastic Surgery statistics from 1992–2005. The researchers also analyzed the impact of economic and non-economic variables on industry growth.

What's hot?

Women's top-five cosmetic surgical procedures for 2007:

Men's top-five cosmetic surgical procedures for 2007:

  • Liposuction: 57,980 procedures
  • Eyelid surgery: 32,564
  • Nose reshaping: 31,713

In 2005, 34 percent of all procedures performed by ASPS Member Surgeons were surgical and 66 percent were non-surgical, the new study finds. Also in 2005, for non-ASPS members 9.5 percent of their procedures were surgical, while 90.5 percent were non-surgical.

But non-surgical procedures grew 27.9 percent between 1992 and 2005, while surgical procedures grew just 7.5 percent.

The No. 1 non-surgical cosmetic procedure for U.S. men and women last year was Botox injection. By 2015, the researchers predict that 88 percent of all cosmetic procedures will be non-surgical.

Robert Roy Britt

Robert is an independent health and science journalist and writer based in Phoenix, Arizona. He is a former editor-in-chief of Live Science with over 20 years of experience as a reporter and editor. He has worked on websites such as and Tom's Guide, and is a contributor on Medium, covering how we age and how to optimize the mind and body through time. He has a journalism degree from Humboldt State University in California.