Aesthetic medicine saw over 30 million surgical and non-surgical procedures carried out in 2021, a jump of 19.3% from the previous year. A telltale sign of the trending global surge in body modification.

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Between 2017 and 2021, the total number of surgical procedures rose by over 33% and non-surgical procedures grew by more than 54% simultaneously, reported the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ISAPS). Their annual survey further suggests that the cosmetic surgery industry has both recovered from a two year Covid-induced lull and stretched far beyond pre-pandemic levels. 

ISAPS represents over 5,600 doctors in 117 countries. The latest survey findings are based around data collected from over 1,000 cosmetic surgeons. The report exclusively included procedures carried out by certified physicians.


Previously, breast augmentations were the most common cosmetic surgery. In fact, in the last four years, 2017 to 2021, the number of breast augmentations increased marginally, by 0.5%. However, the ISAPS’ report editor, Dr. Gianluca Campiglio, identified a relative decline when compared to other procedures. He linked this trend to concern over BIA-ALCL, a form of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma– a cancer of the immune system. 

Campiglio also works as a plastic surgeon based in Italy and further noticed a steep incline in the amount of patients seeking to remove their breast implants despite the procedures’ 50% global increase in the past four years.

“The lower increase in breast augmentation, and related increase in implant removals … reflects our experience following publication of reports on BIA-ALCL in the preceding year,” said Campiliogio in a press release.

On the flip side, liposuction has seen wider growth with more that 1.9 million global liposuction procedures being carried out–  a jump of almost 25% from the preceding year. Other popular procedures that saw an increase are rhinoplasty and abdominoplasty (informally known as  nose jobs and tummy tucks), eyelid surgery, thigh lifts (up 53% from 2020), and overall use of hyaluronic acid as facial filler. 

The ISAPS reported that an estimated 396,105 people had buttock augmentation surgery in 2020. 

Reflecting a 19.3% increase from 2016 that sparked stricter safety regulations for the survey. A figure incontestably related to the rising social shifts that deem curvaceous bosoms the most desired body shape. While many believe the trend is actually a fad, or at least diminishing in popularity, numbers show it has been one of the fastest growing. 

While many patients travel overseas for cheaper cosmetic surgery costs– most commonly to Turkey, Colombia, Mexico and Thailand– The USA has the most cosmetic surgeons in the world. The nearly 7,000 surgeons in the field accounted for almost a quarter of the procedures carried out worldwide. 

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