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Britons Raise a Few Eyebrows

The UK gives good face as anti-ageing surgery soars, with male brow lifts up 19%

London, UK – 28 January 2013 – Despite a gruelling ‘double-dip’ recession, a breast implant scandal and an ongoing government enquiry into the sector, Britons were able to maintain a poker face as demand for anti-ageing procedures soared. Audit figures from the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons ( today reveal that although the number of overall procedures remained static and barely changed at all over the last year, facial rejuvenation treatments in particular proved the nation's favourites with eyelid surgery, fat transfer, brow and face lifts all experiencing a double-digit rise.

Perhaps inspired by last year’s Olympic feats, it was back to the gym for GB as body-shaping ops (such as liposuction, tummy tucks and ‘man boob’ reductions) fell out of favour quite dramatically in comparison to facial anti-ageing procedures. The most impressive percentage increase was in male brow lifts, which rose by 19%. Eyelid surgery and fat transfer also proved popular with both genders, showing a rise of 13% - as did facelifts, up 14%, compared with abdominoplasty (tummy tucks) and liposuction tumbling in demand by 12% and 14% respectively.

In all likelihood a result of the ongoing PIP implants crisis, demand for breast augmentation dipped as expected but only slightly by 1.6%, and continued to maintain its place as the most popular aesthetic surgery. On the whole, the number of surgical procedures showed a barely-perceptible rise of 0.2% from 2011 to a total of 43,172, and their order of popularity remained largely unchanged.


  • 43,172 surgical procedures were carried out by BAAPS members in 2012, a 0.2% increase from 2011, when 43,069 were performed
  • Women had 39,070 procedures, up from 38,771 - just a slight rise of about 1%
  • The most popular procedure was still breast augmentation (‘boob jobs’) but numbers dipped by 1.6%, from 10,015 in 2011 to 9,854 in 2012
  • All anti-ageing procedures experienced a double-digit rise including face (up 14%) and brow (up 17%) lifts, eyelid surgery and fat transfer (both up 13%)
  • Male brow lifts went up by an impressive 19% from 125 to 149, facelifts up 14%, eyelid surgery by 11% and even fat transfer procedures to the face (to restore lost volume) by 10%
  • Women had more fat-injecting than fat-removing procedures for the first time, with 2,641 fat transfer procedures compared with 2,638 liposuction ops
  • In contrast, demand for body-shaping procedures such as liposuction and tummy tucks tumbled by 14% and 12% respectively, for both genders combined
  • Male breast (or ‘moob’) reduction surgery, possibly shunned in favour of new non-surgical approaches, was down by 18% - yet still maintained its place as the third most popular procedure for men
  • Male surgery overall fell by 4.5%, from 4,298 ops performed in 2011 to 4,102 in 2012, but men still account for roughly one in ten of all cosmetic surgery patients

According to Rajiv Grover, consultant plastic surgeon and President of the BAAPS;

“Every week there are reports of new ‘lunchtime’ or ‘Hollywood craze’ treatments that are here today, gone tomorrow. The growth rates for surgical facelifting and other anti-ageing procedures showed a double digit rise, despite a double dip recession. Perhaps because of turbulent financial times, patients are looking for tried-and-tested procedures that deliver a reliable, long-lasting result and which have a proven safety record. Whilst there is an undeniable rise in demand for non-surgical treatments of the face; for example Botox and fillers; once there is actual loose skin in the neck or jowling, only surgery is likely to make a significant improvement and the public seem to be increasingly aware of this.

The considerable drop in body-shaping procedures such as liposuction and tummy tucks may well be due to people choosing to head back to the gym (perhaps inspired by an unforgettable summer of Olympic golds!) or the fact that there are now many less-invasive options to target problem areas, such as for gynaecomastia or ‘man boobs’. Interestingly, for the first time we see a greater number of women having procedures to re-insert fat (known as fat transfer, to add volume to the face) than to remove it, in the form of liposuction. The growing appreciation that facial ageing is more than just about the effects of gravity, combined with scientific advances the rejuvenating qualities of stem cells contained within fat help explain this trend. The Nobel prize for medicine in 2012 being awarded to research in the field of stem cell physiology suggests this may be an area of continued growth in the future.”

The Figures in full:

Men & Women Combined

The top surgical procedures for men & women for 2012 (total 43,172, an increase of 0.2%)

In order of popularity (the ranking showed facelifting jumping from fourth to third place in 2012 compared to 2011):

  • Breast augmentation: 9,854 – down 1.6% from last year
  • Blepharoplasty (eyelid surgery): 6,829 – up 12.7%
  • Face/Neck Lift: 5,660 – up 14% (increased to 3rd place from 4th)
  • Breast Reduction: 4,859 – down 8.2% (dropped to 4th from 3rd)
  • Rhinoplasty: 4,180 – down 7.5%
  • Liposuction: 3,071 – down 14.2%
  • Abdominoplasty: 2,989 – down 11.5%
  • Fat Transfer: 2,882 – up 13%
  • Browlift: 1,812 – up 17%
  • Otoplasty (ear correction): 1,066 - up 8.9%

Women Only

The top surgical procedures for women in 2012 (39,070 total. An increase of 0.8% on 2011)

Women had 90.5% of all cosmetic procedures in 2012.

2012 figures for women in order of popularity (the ranking showed fat transfer jumping from eighth to seventh place in 2012 compared to 2011):

  • Breast augmentation: 9,843 – down 1.6% from last year
  • Blepharoplasty (eyelid surgery): 6,071 – up 13.0%
  • Face/Neck Lift: 5,324 – up 13.3%
  • Breast Reduction: 4,217 – down 6.3%
  • Rhinoplasty: 3,228 – down 7.0%
  • Abdominoplasty: 2,882 – down 11.0%
  • Fat Transfer: 2,641 – up 13.0% (up to 7th from 8th place)
  • Liposuction: 2,638 – down 14.0% (dropped to 8th from 7th)
  • Brow lifts 1,663 – up 17.0%
  • Otoplasty (ear correction): 563 – down 13.0%

Men Only

The top surgical procedures for men in 2012 (4,102 total. A decrease of 4.5% on 2011)

Men had 9.5% of all cosmetic procedures in 2012.

2012 figures for men in order of popularity:

  • Rhinoplasty: 952 – down 9.0% from last year
  • Blepharoplasty (eyelid surgery): 758 – up 11.0%
  • Breast Reduction: 642 – down 18.0%
  • Otoplasty (ear correction): 503 – down 3.5%
  • Liposuction: 433 – down 15.0%
  • Face/Neck Lift: 306 – up14.0%
  • Fat Transfer 241 – up 9.5%
  • Brow lifts 149 – up 19.0%
  • Abdominoplasty: 107 – down 14.0%
  • Breast augmentation: 11 – Static


About the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons
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 website, or by contacting their office at 020 7430 1840. Further materials can be posted to members of the public seeking specialised information. BAAPS is also on Twitter:     and Facebook:

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