Tweak not tuck


New statistics show extreme surgery’s gone bust – surgeons welcome more educated public

London – 26 January, 2015  The wave of post-recession excess which last year resulted in a stratospheric rise in glamour model-inspired boob jobs and summer body-influenced transformations has truly washed over, with new statistics showing Britons have settled into more cautious, rational attitudes towards cosmetic surgery.


New figures from the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (; the only professional organisation solely dedicated to safety and education in cosmetic surgery, and which represents the vast majority of NHS-trained consultant plastic surgeons in private practice; today reveal that the number of cosmetic ops last year decreased 9% overall since 2013, with some procedures falling considerably more out of favour than others.

‘Tweaked, not tucked’ appears to have become the new aesthetic ideal with the demand for subtle, understated antiaging procedures such as eyelid surgery, face lifts and fat transfer remaining largely unchanged – yet more ‘conspicuous’ treatments such as tummy tucks and nose jobs dropping dramatically. And whilst breast augmentation (boob jobs) kept its top place as the most popular surgical procedure, demand for them plunged by a quarter (23%). Breast reductions, increasingly unavailable on the Health Service, went up by a modest 3%.


Despite a boom over the past decade in male surgery, the men of 2014 largely eschewed cosmetic enhancements – possibly influenced by the preference for the more rugged, facial hair-sporting look currently in fashion – with male figures decreasing by 15% overall. Nose jobs, which were last year’s most popular procedure for men, plummeted by as much as 30% and even ‘moob’ reduction has sagged by 10%. All male procedures, in fact, took a tumble, although less dramatically in terms of subtle treatments such as male eyelid surgery, which barely drooped by 4% and became their most popular op. The ratio of men remained the same as previous years however, with male patients still accounting for roughly one in ten (9%) of all surgical procedures.


Female numbers decreased by 9% overall, although surgical liposuction for women increased in popularity by a considerable 10%, as the backlash against the mostly ineffective non-surgical options for fat removal appeared to continue. The number of total surgical procedures in 2014 was 45,506 and their order of popularity has shifted for the first time in five years.


The BAAPS welcomes these new trends, attributing them to an increasingly educated public which has come to the realisation that surgery is rarely the quick fix it’s widely marketed as. According to Rajiv Grover, consultant plastic surgeon and former President of the BAAPS with responsibility for the UK national audit of cosmetic surgery;

“The difference between 2013 and 2014 may seem surprising, but the dramatic double-digit rise last year was very clearly a post-austerity ‘boom’, and figures are simply now returning to a more rational level. It might seem counterintuitive that as plastic surgeons we could possibly welcome such a change, but we are pleased that the public are now so much more thoughtful, cautious and educated in their approach to cosmetic surgery.


“Aesthetic preferences naturally evolve over time – 2014 saw men sporting bushy beards and women bushy eyebrows, as well as a number of ‘enhanced’ celebrities downgrade their implant sizes. In cosmetic surgery the natural, less-is-more look is definitely on the rise as patients opt to be ‘tweaked’ rather than ‘tucked’.”

According to Michael Cadier, consultant plastic surgeon and BAAPS President;

“With demand for the most subtle anti-ageing procedures such as eyelid surgery and facelifts holding steady, it’s clear that the public of 2014 were after a refreshed or youthful appearance rather than more conspicuous alterations. Proven treatments such as surgical liposuction also continued to rise which is unsurprising, when so many non-surgical alternatives for fat removal seem ineffective.


“The message to the aesthetic sector is clear: patients want subtle and understated – most refreshingly, they are doing their research, taking their time and coming to us with realistic expectations. At the BAAPS we consider this to be a triumph and, as the only organisation based at the Royal College of Surgeons solely dedicated to advancing safety and training in aesthetic surgery, we’re committed to continue in our mission of promoting education and sensible decision making in cosmetic procedures.”


The figures in full:


The top ten surgical procedures for men & women for 2014 (total 45,406 – a fall of 9%)

In order of popularity:


  • Breast augmentation:         8,619 – down 23% from last year            


  • Blepharoplasty (eyelids):    7,752 – down 1%                       


  • Face/Neck Lift:        6,402 – up 1%


  • Breast Reduction:   5,528 – up 1%            


  • Liposuction:          4,627 – up 7% (Rose to 5th place from 6th)                 


  • Rhinoplasty:         3,690– down 24% (Dropped to 6th from 5th)                        


  • Fat Transfer:       3,155 – down 4% (Increased to 7th from 8th)                       


  • Abdominoplasty: 2,713 – down 20%  (Dropped to 8th from 7th)                      


  • Browlift:              1,978 – down 7%


  • Otoplasty (ear correction):       942 – down 20%




The top ten surgical procedures for women in 2014 (41,364 total – a fall of 9% from 2013)

Women had 91% of all cosmetic procedures in 2014.

2014 figures for women in order of popularity:


  • Breast augmentation:        8,609 – down 20% from last year


  • Blepharoplasty (eyelid ops): 6,903 – static


  • Face/Neck Lift:                    6,075 – up 1%             


  • Breast Reduction:              4,823 – up 3%            


  • Liposuction:                       4,138 – up 10%  (Up to 5th from 6th place in 2013)          


  • Rhinoplasty:                       2,977 – down 20%  (Down to 6th place from 5th)


  • Fat Transfer:                       2,914 – down 4%  (Up to 7th from 8th place in 2013)           


  • Abdominoplasty:                  2,608 – down 20%  (Dropped to 8th place from 7th in 2013)


  • Brow lifts:                           1,836 – down 5%            


  • Otoplasty (ear correction):     481 – down 25%            



The top ten surgical procedures for men in 2014 (4,042 total. A fall of 15% from 2013)

Men had 9% of all cosmetic procedures in 2014.

2014 figures for men in order of popularity:


  • Blepharoplasty (eyelid ops): 849 – down 4% from last year (Up to 1st place from 2nd)


  • Rhinoplasty:                        713 – down 30% (Down to 2nd place from 1st in 2013)            


  • Breast Reduction:                 705 – down 10%                       


  • Liposuction:                          489 – down 10%  


  • Otoplasty (ear correction):     461 – down 15%


  • Face/Neck Lift:                      327 – down 10%            


  • Fat Transfer:                        241 – down 9%                       


  • Brow lifts:                           142 – down 19%                       


  • Abdominoplasty:                  105 – down 15%                       


  • Breast augmentation:                       Static                       




The BAAPS (, based at the Royal College of Surgeons, is a not-for-profit organisation, established for the advancement of education and practice of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery for public benefit. Members undergo thorough background screening before they can join. Information about specific procedures and surgeons’ contact details can be found on the web site, or by contacting their advice line at 020 7405 2234. Further materials can be posted to members of the public seeking specialised information. BAAPS is also on and Facebook:

For all media enquiries, please contact Nikki Milovanovic on 020 7549 2863 (out-of-hours 07973 147 388) or email

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