Culture

Ugly Brexit brings drop in plastic surgery

By Kitty Knowles 13 February 2017
Summary

'Global uncertainty' has hit plastic surgeons where it hurts.

Today, we’ve got more to worry about than wrinkles.

Brexit, it seems, has been enough to break our superficiality.

Last year saw the lowest numbers of cosmetic surgery ops in almost a decade, a new report from the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) has found, with professionals in the field blaming global unrest.

A “bad news overload” has left patients prioritising stability and comfort over big life changes, they claim.

Falling facelifts

Despite sailing to record-breaking heights in 2015, the number of cosmetic operations last year dropped by 40%. And, for the first time in almost 10 years of growth, the total number of cosmetic surgical procedures dipped below 31,000.

Nearly 50% fewer men underwent surgery in 2016 than in 2015, while women’s cosmetic surgery dropped by 39%.

Factors including Brexit and fear of terrorist attacks, were suggested as possible contributors.

“In a climate of global fragility, the public are less likely to spend on significant alterations and become more fiscally conservative,” said plastic surgeon and former BAAPS President Rajiv Grover.

“The background of negative news and economic uncertainty seems to have re-invigorated the famous British ‘stiff upper lip’ – achieved, however, through dermal fillers and wrinkle-relaxing injections, rather than surgery”.

The facts

It shouldn’t necessarily come as a surprise that economic insecurity might make us shun change: research showed that whilst the EU referendum loomed, many Britons wouldn’t have considered buying a house or even switching banks.

Altering one’s body is perhaps an even more dramatic adjustment.

The few surgical procedures to remain popular, tended to be those with no non-surgical equivalents (such as pinning back prominent ears), while one of the few surgeries to rise in demand was tummy tucks among men.

However, Grover was keen to warn the public to avoid “maverick behaviour” – “Non-surgical does not, and never has, meant non-medical.”

Arguably the downturn in surgeries could be seen as positive, as we take more time to think about the serious impact of surgical procedures – Brexit might have even help us to be happier with our natural beauty.

If only we knew if the future for politics were as pretty.

Take a look at the stats…

The top surgical procedures for men & women in 2016 (total 30,750. A fall of 39.9% from 2015)
In order of popularity:
Breast augmentation 7,769 – down 20% from last year
Blepharoplasty (eyelid surgery)  3,905 – down 38%
Breast Reduction 3,886 – down 38%
Face/Neck Lift 3,453 – down 53%
Liposuction 3,218 – down 42%
Abdominoplasty 2,763 – down 6%
Rhinoplasty 2,703 – down 14%
Fat Transfer 1,459 – down 56%
Otoplasty (ear correction) 987 – down 9%
Browlift 607 – down 71%