ISAPS Biennial Global Survey of plastic surgeons and procedures

The International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ISAPS) is a world leader in plastic surgery. After a year-long process, the Society has produced the "ISAPS Biennial Global Survey™" of plastic surgeons and procedures in the top 25 countries and regions – representing 75% of all procedures in 2009.  The ISAPS Survey marks the first time reliable international plastic surgery data has been obtained and analyzed by independent statistical specialists.

"This year marks the 40th anniversary of the founding of ISAPS," noted Foad Nahai, MD of the United States and current President of ISAPS. "The Society was founded at the United Nations by a group of concerned and proactive plastic surgeons. We could think of no better way of commemorating this important milestone than by commissioning and releasing this breakthrough Survey."

Geographic Trends

The ISAPS Global Survey revealed a new hierarchy of countries with the most surgical and non surgical cosmetic procedures. While the United States continues its dominance in the field, countries  not always associated with plastic surgery are emerging as major centers.

Most Popular Surgical and Non Surgical Procedures

For the last ten years, the consensus has been that breast augmentation was the most popular plastic surgery procedure. The ISAPS Global Survey reveals a new trend with liposuction representing 18.8% of all surgical procedures, followed by breast augmentation at 17%, and blepharoplasty (upper or lower eyelid lift) at 13.5%, rhinoplasty (nose reshaping) at 9.4% and abdominoplasty  ("Tummy Tuck") at 7.3%.

The popularity of surgical procedures varied by country with Brazil, the United States, China, Mexico, India and Japan the dominant countries for the top five procedures.

Reflecting both advances in cosmetic surgery innovation and the desirability of less expensive treatments, the number of non surgical procedures performed by plastic surgeons actually topped surgical procedures.  While there is no previous baseline of information against which to compare these figures, there can be no doubt that this is a dramatic turn of events.

The top five non surgical procedures are: toxins or neuromodulators injections (Botox, Dysport) (32.7%), hyaluronic acid injections (20.1%), laser hair removal (13.1%), autologous fat injections (taking a patient's fat from one location and transferring it in the same patient in another location) (5.9%) and IP Laser treatment (4.4%).

The countries where non surgical procedures were performed were dominated by the United States, Brazil, Mexico and China and to a lesser extent by Japan, Hungary, South Korea, India and Germany.

Grand Totals – Finally a Credible Baseline

The ISAPS Global Survey also establishes several important statistics with regard to the total number of board certified (or national equivalent) plastic surgeons practicing today; estimated to be 30,817. The total number of surgical procedures is projected to be 8,536,379 and the number of non surgical procedures is estimated at 8,759,187  – bringing  the combined worldwide total of surgical and non surgical procedures performed by board certified plastic surgeons to: 17,295,557. (This figure does not take into account surgical and non surgical procedures performed by non plastic surgeons.)

Dr. Jan Poell of Switzerland, the incoming President of ISAPS, observed that, "The statistics revealed from the ISAPS Global Survey represent the first credible and reliable baseline of information in the field. This is valuable information that will be used by medical professionals and media as an indispensable tool for calculating developments within our specialty and general trends, long before governments or industry have amassed  this data."


"Calculating plastic surgery surgical and non surgical procedures throughout the world was a complex and challenging initiative," noted Dr. Sampaio Goes of Brazil, an ISAPS Past President and Chairman of the ISAPS Communication Committee which oversaw this Survey. "We chose a respected survey company with extensive experience in plastic surgery, and the results they produced are credible, scientifically significant and will influence the profession for years to come."

The ISAPS Biennial Global Survey was compiled, tabulated, and analyzed by Industry Insights, Inc. ( an independent research firm based in Columbus, Ohio in the United States.  The Survey leader was Scott Hackworth, a Certified Public Accountant who along with firm has conducted various forms of research on trends in Aesthetic Plastic Surgery for nearly 15 years.

Participants in the Survey completed a two-page, English-based questionnaire that focused on the number of surgical and non-surgical procedures they performed in 2009. ISAPS issued an invitation to participate in the study to approximately 20,000 Plastic Surgeons whose contact information is housed in ISAPS proprietary database.  In addition, a request was made that all National Societies encourage their members to take part in the survey.  

Final figures have been projected to reflect international statistics and are based exclusively on the estimated number of Plastic Surgeons in each country.  To aid in tallying the world-wide number of plastic surgeons, representatives from National Societies provided the counts for over 75% of the 31,000 total estimated plastic surgeons.    

Though the confidence intervals change by procedure and by country - depending on the sample size and response variance of each - the overall survey portion of this research holds a standard error of +/- 4.24% at a 95% level of confidence.  


International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ISAPS)


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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