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Skin Institute
January 1, 2015

Each year the American Academy of Facial and Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (AAFPRS) publishes its survey of 2500 members to try and pinpoint the previous year’s trends in facial plastic surgery – and while we might not think we’ve got that much in common with the US, their findings are still very revealing.


So here’s a rundown of what’s hot and who’s getting what in the world of plastic and reconstructive surgery, as well as a rundown of a few trends to look out for in the coming twelve months.


The rise and rise of the “selfie”

This time last year, the survey was headlined by a marked increase in the number of younger patients seeking plastic surgery off the huge impact of the “selfie” – in fact the 2014 survey found one in three facial plastic surgeons had seen an increase in requests for procedures because patients were “more self-aware of looks in social media.”

This past year saw this phenomenon increase even further – especially in the under 30s – and the AAFPRS even says that the popularity of the “selfie stick” as a Christmas gift and the trend of sharing video rather than still images had boosted the number of “more wrinkle-conscious consumers.”

“Unlike still photography, video cannot be photoshopped to reduce a double chin or edit out a bump on a nose,” says Stephen S. Park, MD, FACS, President of the AAFPRS. “One of the best methods to soften dynamic wrinkles is by having neuromodulator injections, as in BOTOX® or Dysport or Xeomin. The 2014 statistics showed that the desire for these treatments is stronger than ever and growing every year.”


I want to be like you

And while we’re becoming ever more obsessed with how we look on social media there’s still evidence of our ongoing passion with celebrities – especially the kind of celebrity that’s been airbrushed and photoshopped to Hollywood perfection.

The survey showed a strong increase in the number of celebrity procedures (13% of surgeons saw an increase as opposed to 3% in 2013 and 7% in 2012) with Angelina Jolie’s lips and cheekbones as the most requested procedure followed by Beyonce’s facial structure, Kim Kardashian’s eyes and jawline, and Brad Pitt and Natalie Portman’s noses.

“Some people are attracted to the power, fame and attention that being a celebrity brings,” Dr Park says. “It’s important to remember that simply changing your appearance will not give you the same level of recognition. Celebrity photos are so often re-touched that their images are distorted, which can result in unrealistic expectations that propel consumers to seek excessive or extreme surgeries.”


Skin cancer and reconstructive surgery

Although the AAFPRS quotes US figures showing that one in five Americans develop skin cancer at some stage of their lives, the figures in New Zealand from the Cancer Society show “New Zealand and Australia have the unwelcome distinction of possessing by far the highest melanoma incidence rates in the world, around triple or more the rates in other countries, including Europe and the Americas”. And although the danger of skin cancer goes up with age, young people in our part of the world are also increasingly at risk – in 2010, the last year for which we have figures, melanoma was the leading cancer among males aged 25 to 44 and the second most common cancer for women in the same age bracket.

The survey found 87% of facial plastic surgeons see patients for reconstructive work related to skin cancer – with the nose (68%), cheeks (16%), ears (6%) and forehead (4%) the most common areas.

The top reconstructive surgeries were nasal reconstruction (48%), skin cancer and Mohs surgery (33%), scar revision (10%) and facial trauma surgery (2%).

“Cosmetic and reconstructive surgery are beginning to merge,” says Dr. Park. “Patients desire a beautiful, natural-looking result, but there is also a functional component to a lot of what we do. Nearly half of our members saw an increase in patients seeking reconstructive nasal surgery to correct a problem that arose from a prior cosmetic rhinoplasty. Expectations are high to combine form and function.”


Who’s who

Although women make up 82% of surgical and non-surgical procedures, (according to the survey the most common surgical procedures are rhinoplasty, facelifts, blepharoplasty andlaser skin resurfacing, while the hottest non-surgical procedures were BOTOX® injections,hyaluronic acid fillers, non-ablative skin resurfacing and peels and microdermabrasiontreatments). More men were also seeking work – especially BOTOX®, hyaluronic fillers andrhinoplasty.

Rhinoplasty remains the most requested surgical procedure for both sexes for the fifth consecutive year.

In 2014, facelifts, browlifts, and blepharoplasty were most performed on adults over the age of 55. Rhinoplasty was most performed on those between the ages of 22 and 34 while BOTOX® was most performed on adults age 35 and 55.  Filler or fat injections, peels and lasers were most likely performed on those age 35 and older.


So what’s next?

So that was last year, but the AAFPRS is also looking forward to an increase in the amount of facial plastic surgery in the coming year too – especially on the back of an improving economy.


The organisation’s major tips for the next 12 months are:

  • A blurring of the line between cosmetic and reconstructive plastic surgery where a procedure required for functional reasons also brings a cosmetic benefit – or vice versa.
  • Stacking multiple procedures to increase the benefits of individual standalone procedures such as fillers plus neurotoxins to smooth wrinkles.
  • The onward march of social media meaning more rhinoplasty, eyelid work and neck contouring for all ages from “teens to seniors”.
  • Apparently 70 is the new 50 so, according to Dr Park, “It is increasingly common for women and men in their 60s and 70s to seek out the expertise of facial plastic surgeons to maintain a youthful appearance.”
  • More procedures to brighten ageing eyes and rejuvenate the delicate eyelid area, as well as more “little tweaks that can have a big impact” such as earlobe reduction and using energy based devices to remove moles and birthmarks.

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