When Americans elect to go under the knife, they're most likely trying to change their face or get rid of fat − and they're paying the big bucks to do so, according to plastic surgery statistics from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.
A whopping 17.1 million surgical and minimally-invasive cosmetic procedures are performed annually in the U.S., according to the ASPS statistics for 2016 (the most recent year available).
Total surgical expenditures for both types of procedures topped $18 billion.
Where did all that money go?
The leading money grabbers were these five cosmetic surgeries.
- Breast augmentation to enlarge or change the shape of the breasts:
No. of surgeries: 290,467 procedures
Cost: $3,719 national average surgeon fee; $1,080,246,773 total expenditures
- Liposuction intended to remove excess body fat:
No. of surgeries: 235,237 procedures
Cost: $3,200 national average surgeon fee; $752,758,400 total expenditures
- Nose reshaping:
No. of surgeries: 223,018 procedures
Cost: $5,046 national average surgeon fee
$1,125,348,828 total expenditures
- Eyelid surgeries to lift sagging eyelids:
No. of surgeries: 209,020 procedures
Cost: $3,022 national average surgeon fee; $631,658,440 total expenditures
- Facelifts to enhance sagging, drooping and wrinkled skin on the face and neck:
No. of surgeries: 131,106 procedures
Cost: Full facelift national average surgeon fee: $7,122; mini-facelift $5,092; Full facelift total expenditures: $691,617,420, mini-facelift $173,107,632
Surgeons typically perform cosmetic surgery ranging from rhinoplasty to augmentation with no issue or incident, according to Bottar Leone Attorneys, writing on the New York Malpractice and Injury Lawyer blog.
But plastic surgery still involves complications.
According to Bottar Leone, these are the five most common complications of plastic surgery:
- Hematoma: This large blood pocket under the skin resembles a bruise and is the most common complication of facelifts. It is sometimes also seen following breast augmentation procedures. If a hematoma does not resolve, it may require surgery to drain the blood buildup.
- Nerve damage: "Any type of surgical procedure can result in nerve damage, but it is particularly common after plastic surgery," the law firm stated. "Approximately 15 percent of women who undergo breast augmentation surgery experience permanent loss of sensation in the nipple."
- Infection: Just like any other surgery, when the body is opened and exposed to bacteria during cosmetic procedures, infection can result. Bottar Leone asserted that infections like cellulitis occur in about 2 to 4 percent of plastic surgery patients. Most are easy to treat but the severe ones may require hospitalization and IV antibiotics.
- Deep vein thrombosis: This is where blood clots form in deep veins, usually in the legs. Should the clots break away and travel to the lungs, pulmonary embolism, or PE, may occur. "This type of complication is fairly rare, but especially traumatic," said the law firm. "DVT and PE can be fatal."
- Scarring: Bottar Leone particularly stressed the risk of hypertrophic scarring, the thick, red, raised scarring, that occurs in an estimated 2 to 5 percent of breast augmentation surgeries.
However popular plastic surgery has become in America, it still hasn't become commonplace. None of the five most common cosmetic surgeries in the U.S. made Stanford Health Care's alphabetical list of 20 common surgeries. That list included mastectomies, lower back pain surgeries, cataract surgery and surgery to remove hemorrhoids.