People Did less of Plastic Surgery in 2020

People Did less of Plastic Surgery in 2020

Plastic surgery procedures for aesthetic purposes decreased by 10.9 per cent in 2020, with 77.8 per cent of surgeons globally experiencing temporary practice closures during COVID-19 pandemic.

Nonsurgical procedures (primarily fillers and hair removal treatments) continued to increase, but by lower proportions than seen in previous years (5.7% in 2020, compared to 7.6% in 2019), according to a Global Survey on Aesthetic/Cosmetic Procedures.

The International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ISAPS) that released the results report noted that COVID-19 pandemic had a negative impact on aesthetic plastic surgery procedures worldwide in 2020.

Chair of ISAPS’ Global Survey Committee said Dr. Arturo Ramirez-Montañana “this downward trend is in line with our survey findings of lower patient demand due to safety and financial concerns during the COVID-19 pandemic. At the same time, many of us have also experienced an increase in demand due to patients’ increased flexibility, the opportunity for a more private recovery and, particularly for facial procedures, the so-called ‘zoom effect’. This has limited the impact of COVID-19 on overall procedures.”


The most common surgical procedures worldwide remained the same during 2020, with breast augmentation making up 16 per cent of all procedures, liposuction 15.1 per cent, eyelid surgery 12.1 per cent rhinoplasty 8.4 per cent and abdominoplasty 7.6 per cent, a release said.

The top five nonsurgical procedures also remained consistent: botulinum toxin (43.2% of all nonsurgical procedures), hyaluronic acid (28.1%), hair removal (12.8%), nonsurgical fat reduction (3.9%) and photo rejuvenation (3.6%). Around 85% of nonsurgical procedures were performed on women.

In spite of the overall reduction in surgeries, rhinoplasty and brow lift surgeries continued to increase, and nonsurgical facial rejuvenation showed a 13.9% increase compared to a decrease in both 2019 and 2018.


Overall, nonsurgical procedures increased, except for botulinum toxin, hyaluronic acid, and micro-ablative resurfacing (decreasing by 0.9%, 6.1% and 11.3%, respectively).

The most common surgical procedures in men continue to be eyelid surgery, liposuction, gynecomastia, rhinoplasty and ear surgery.


Looking at the age distribution for different procedures, 19-34-year-olds made up the highest proportion of those undergoing rhinoplasty (67.9%) while 35-50-year-olds accounted for the majority of botulinum toxin procedures (50.2%).

At the time of this survey, only 45% of surgeons had seen a return to pre-pandemic patient volume. Dr. Ramirez-Montañana said, “Despite the terrible pandemic we are living through, it seems that most aesthetic plastic surgeons are getting back to near-normal practice and I am optimistic about 2021, both for the plastic surgery industry and for surgical and nonsurgical procedures.”


The USA saw an increase in both surgical and nonsurgical procedures, consolidating its position as the number one country for surgical procedures performed worldwide (14.7% of total surgical procedures) and taking the lead from Brazil with most nonsurgical procedures performed worldwide (22.1% of total nonsurgical procedures).

The top 10 countries for procedures in 2020 were the USA, Brazil, Germany, Japan, Turkey, Mexico, Argentina, Italy, Russia, and India, followed by Spain, Greece, Colombia and Thailand.

Mexico, Turkey, and Colombia saw the highest proportion of foreign patients: 28.2%, 25.8% and 21.8%, respectively in 2020. Thailand, which held the number one position last year, was fourth highest at 20.9%.

Hospitals continue to be the primary facility where surgical procedures are performed (43.8% worldwide), apart from the USA where office facilities (45% of procedures) and freestanding surgical centers (34.3%) are more commonly used.


Survey participants completed a questionnaire that primarily focused on the number of specific surgical and nonsurgical procedures performed in 2020, along with some ancillary questions related to the impact of COVID-19, surgeon demographics and the prevalence of medical tourism. This questionnaire was sent to approximately 25,000 plastic surgeons in ISAPS’ database. Data from a total of 1,081 plastic surgeons were compiled for this survey. The results were compiled, tabulated and analyzed by Industry Insights, an independent research firm based in Columbus, OH. ISAPS is the only organization to collect this type of cosmetic data annually on a global scale.

The International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery is the world’s leading professional body for board-certified aesthetic plastic surgeons. Founded in 1970, ISAPS provides an open forum for the exchange of aesthetic plastic surgery knowledge worldwide. ISAPS sponsors and endorses scientific meetings throughout the world, and offers its members up-to-date training and continuing education. Today, ISAPS membership includes over 5,100 of the world’s most respected aesthetic and reconstructive surgeons in 110 countries.


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