I don’t know about you, but the study of statistics has never “lit my fire!” We all know that you can lie with them, but can you stay awake reading them? The ASAPS 2012 statistics for plastic surgical procedures performed, at first glance, falls into that dull, duller, dullest category. On the other hand, a more thoughtful review yields some very interesting insights.

It should be noted that these data were based on the results of a questionnaire mailed to 23,000 Board-Certified physicians (9,300 Dermatologist, 8,300 Otolaryngologists, and 5,400 Plastic Surgeons). Interestingly, only 772 physicians who were active returned their surveys. The numbers in the survey represent an extrapolation from that number to the number of Board-Certified physicians (Dermatologists, ENT, Plastic Surgeons) who are currently in active practice = 25,750.

– After several lack-luster years, the number of surgical cosmetic procedures actually increased by 3%. The economy may finally be starting to recover a bit!

Breast Augmentation still maintains its narrow lead over liposuction as the most frequently performed procedure by a margin of 6%.Tummy Tucks, Eyelid Lifts and Rhinoplasty round out the top 5 surgical procedures.

– Botulinum Toxin Injections (Botox, Dysport) increased by a staggering 17% from 2011 to 2012. In fact, there were almost twice as many botulinum toxin injections done as all of the surgical cosmetic procedures combined! People love the stuff!! When you take into account the physician assistants and nurses who work in the offices of these Board-Certified physicians, the number of botulinum toxin injections increased to over 4 million per year – That’s more people than are listed as living in Los Angeles!!

– Hyaluronic Acid injections (Juvederm, Restylane) by physicians increased by 18% to 1.4 million. That’s conclusive proof that patients take advantage of nonsurgical options that require minimal recovery and that help them improve or maintain their appearance.

– What age range has more plastic surgery? 19-34, 35-50, or 51-64? I would have guessed 51-64, but it’s 35-50 followed by 19-34! My age group needs to catch up!!

– Is plastic surgery among teenagers something to be alarmed about? Is it a growing trend? Interestingly, only 2.1% of cosmetic procedures were done for those 18 and younger, and ear setback surgery was the most common, with rhinoplasty coming in 2nd place. Breast augmentation was in 3rd, and half of these cases were reconstructive in nature.

– Is plastic surgery “worth it”, all things considered? RealSelf collected opinions from its users and came up with some interesting results. The highest rated surgical procedure was tummy tuck, with 95% rating it as “worth it.” Breast augmentation was 2nd with 93% and liposuction was rated at 77%. Interestingly, of the nonsurgical procedures, the highest rated one was laser hair removal at 65%, lower than the lowest rated liposuction. Botulinum Toxin injections were rated at 59%.

Did any of these findings surprise you? Please feel free to leave a comment!

George Sanders, M.D.