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Summary: Plastic surgery is all over the place, but where is plastic surgery the most popular? The answer to that question can tell us where plastic surgery procedures have become exceptionally effective—or at least desired. And just what types of procedures are popular can tell us even more about how plastic surgery is viewed across the world.

Finding Out Where Plastic Surgery is the Most Popular?

In many ways, plastic surgery is a global phenomenon—but where is plastic surgery the most popular? In many ways, this depends on how you define popularity. There’s relative popularity and there’s absolute popularity. Generally, we measure that popularity on a nation by nation basis.

If we measure popularity in an absolute sense, it becomes clear that the United States is where plastic surgery is the most popular. But that might change when you look at things in a relatively sense. That is, if you look at the number of procedures performed in the United States compared to its population, the “popularity ranking” might change.

Still, most statistics (including those gathered by the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons, which we’re using to guide our writing) are gathered by absolute numbers. Let’s take a look at those numbers and determine the five places where plastic surgery is the most popular (absolutely).

#5: Mexico

We don’t usually think of Mexico as a hub of plastic surgery procedures and popularity. But that probably says something a little more about us than it does about Mexico. In any case, Mexico reported performing 3.9% of the world’s plastic surgery procedures in the year 2016. That’s a significant chunk of the world’s overall plastic surgery procedures.

#4: Italy

According to the report published by the ISAPS, Italy ranked number four in the world when it came to plastic surgery procedures. According to the report, 4.1% of the world’s plastic surgery procedures were performed in Italy.

#3: Japan

It might be surprising that Japan takes the number three spot. If I were a betting person, I might have expected a country such as South Korea to be higher on the list. There might be a reason for that: it could be that Japan has a larger amount of absolute procedures performed but South Korea has a higher amount of relative procedures performed (that is, more plastic surgery per capita).

#2: Brazil

We’ve written in the past about Brazil’s love of plastic surgery. According to the ISAPS, that love is alive and well, as Brazil accounts for 10.7% of the world’s plastic surgery procedures. To say that plastic surgery is common in Brazil might, in some ways, be an understatement. It’s exceptionally popular, especially among those who can afford it. Indeed, when it comes to both absolute and per capita procedures, Brazil is one of the most plastic surgery-friendly countries in the world.

#1: United States

When it comes to the number of plastic surgery procedures performed the world over, no one beats the United States. In 2016, over four million plastic surgery procedures were performed here in the U.S. That makes up 17.9% of the world’s plastic surgery procedures. That’s a lot of plastic surgery!

Plastic Surgery is Not the Same Everywhere

While the ISAPS collected data on the number of procedures performed, they also collected data on which procedures were performed. And part of that was not particularly surprising. Because the ISAPS found that popular procedures varies significantly from country to country.

In western countries, such as the U.S., you tend to see facelift and breast augmentation near the top of the list. In eastern countries, procedures such as blepharoplasty (eyelid lift) are often the most popular. The reason for that is pretty simple: definitions of beauty are not universal.

And because what’s considered attractive, appropriate, and aesthetically pleasing vary from region to region, it’s not surprising to see popular procedures vary from region to region.

Increasing Popularity for a Reason

Another aspect of this report to keep in mind is that plastic surgery overall is becoming more and more popular. There are a couple of reasons for this, I think. Some of those reasons are cause to celebrate and some of them we should look at a little warily. Those reasons include:

  • Increased pressure to look attractive, especially globally
  • Increased accessibility of plastic and cosmetic surgery procedures
  • Improved results (and results that look natural)
  • Improved recovery and less invasive approaches

In other words, patients are getting better results—often with less invasive approaches. That’s a hard combination to beat. As good news about results spreads, we expect plastic surgery to get even more popular. Who knows what the top five countries will be next year. It’s hard to guess where plastic surgery will be the most popular.

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