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HomeWeekly RoundupDemand for cosmetic surgery continues to grow

Demand for cosmetic surgery continues to grow

Global demand for cosmetic surgery is showing no sign of abating, with a boom in Asia as the procedures become more affordable and less of a taboo, Fin24 reports experts said. The global market grew by 8.3% in 2016 to an estimated value of $8.9bn – the gross domestic product of the Bahamas, according to data released at the IMCAS aesthetic industry conference in Paris.

In 2017, people are projected to spend €9.2bn on face and body upgrades, growing to nearly €12bn in 2020. "There's a general acceptance that doing, whether it's surgery or less invasive procedures… to make you feel better, look better, it's much more accepted," Nolan Karp, a New York surgeon and board member of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, is quoted in the report as saying.

Demand in Asia is exploding, practitioners say, driven by a rapidly growing middle class and a quest for more Caucasian features. Behind the US and Brazil, South Korea was the third biggest market for aesthetic treatments in 2015, with 1.2m procedures out of a global total of 21.7m, according to data from the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ISAPS). While breast augmentation and liposuction are the most popular procedures in America, Brazil, Mexico and most of Europe, demand in South Korea is for eye, nose, cheek and chin re-sculpting.

IMCAS data shows the Asia Pacific region will be the fastest grower, at 12% in the coming four years – overtaking Europe for the first time in 2020 to represent a quarter of the global market at over €3bn.

The report says less-invasive procedures such as laser treatments to tighten or "rejuvenate" skin, toxin injections to paralyse face muscles and ease frown lines, chemical peels, and freezing and killing unwanted fat, are fast overtaking traditional surgery. More and more clients opt for procedures that require no anaesthesia, less recovery time, and present fewer risks.

"The growth of non-surgicals is pretty much exponential," ISAPS president Renato Saltz said in the report. "The technology, the money invested in research and development, is just mind boggling. If you look at the industry, they don't make money with a scalpel, but they do make money with machines."

In 2015, Botox injections were the most popular procedure with 4.6m performed by plastic surgeons, followed by hyaluronic acid injections (2.9m) to iron out wrinkles and plump up lips. Surgical breast augmentation was in third place with 1.5m procedures, followed by liposuction with 1.4m and operations to lift and shape eyelids at 1.3m.

Some foresee that more and more men, who make up about a tenth of clients today, will be drawn in. Slowing or reversing hair loss, for example, "is a huge potential market," said Bernard Mole, a Paris-based plastic surgeon said in the report. Balding can be very distressing for many men, he said. Hair implantation technology has improved and there is a drug that promises to boost growth – but these are expensive and take a long time – leaving a huge gap for a "miracle" hair drug.

The report says genital re-sculpting is another wide-open field. "The demand is not there yet, but 10 to 15 years ago there was also no demand for female genital rejuvenation," said Mole. "Today it is among the most popular procedures, and I believe that in five to ten years we will see the same trend in men."

[link url=""]Fin24 report[/link]
[link url=""]ISAPS global statistics 2015[/link]

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