Cosmetic surgery, commonly referred to as "plastic surgery" in many places, is a growing medical field in which modern medical techniques are used to enhance a person's appearance. Plastic surgery includes a wide range of possible procedures: Individuals who wish to rank among the world's most beautiful women or most handsome men may undergo cosmetic surgery to remove facial wrinkles, adjust their nose's shape, augment their breast size, and more. Other individuals may seek to smooth scars left by serious burns, correct a cleft palate, or reconstruct a breast lost to cancer.
In many cases, individuals travel to another country to get plastic surgery in a country with more skilled surgeons or cheaper prices. With these factors in mind, which countries perform the most plastic surgeries every year?
Total Surgeries 🔽
The United States, which has one of the largest populations in the world, also performs more plastic surgeries than any other country. In 2018, it was estimated that the United States performed more than 4 million cosmetic surgery procedures. This information was published by the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. Several other countries also perform a large number of plastic surgery procedures every year. Brazil and Mexico also performed more than 1 million cosmetic surgical procedures that year. Other countries that are high on the list include Germany, India, and South Korea.
While North America may lead the world in total plastic surgery procedures, according to the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons, it is only fifth in terms of the number of surgeries per capita—that is, when viewed in comparison to the total population. South Korea is the country with the highest per-person percentage of plastic surgeries in the world. In South Korea, it is estimated that the rate of plastic surgery is approximately one in five, with women being the largest demographic getting plastic surgery. South Korea is followed by Greece and Italy.
Some plastic surgery procedures are more common than others, and different countries have different preferences. In the United States, Botox injections are arguably the most popular plastic surgery procedure. Botox requires minimal anesthesia, is relatively quick, and is more affordable than some of the other procedures. Breast augmentation is also very popular in the United States. It is estimated that more than 300,000 people underwent breast augmentation procedures in 2018. Additional popular procedures include liposuction, abdominoplasty, hair removal, eyelid surgery, and photo rejuvenation.
Botox, breast augmentation, and liposuction are also among the most common plastic surgery procedures performed in Brazil. Sometimes, people travel to Brazil from other countries to get plastic surgery done because it is more affordable.
In South Korea, a nose job, liposuction, and blepharoplasty are at the top of the list for plastic surgeries. A blepharoplasty is a procedure, also known as double eyelid surgery, which typically involves removing excess fat around the eyes and eliminating eye drooping. In South Korea, it is not so much about eliminating or tightening the wrinkles around the eyes as it is about looking more like the Western world.
The list below outlines some of the most popular cosmetic surgeries in countries in which plastic surgery is most prevalent.
Plastic surgery is rarely covered by medical insurance, and can be quite expensive, especially in the United States and particularly if it requires anesthesia. As a result, many patients choose to travel and have their plastic surgery in a country where medical costs are more affordable. South American countries such as Brazil, Mexico, and Costa Rica are very popular destinations, as are Asian countries such as South Korea and Singapore and Eastern European locations including the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Turkey.
The key factors influencing the rates of plastic surgery in a country include the economy of the country and the disposable income of the citizens of the country. For example, Greece is a very wealthy country, as are the United States and South Korea, and their citizens often have enough income to afford the luxuries of elective surgery for beauty.
Cultural views are an important influence as well. In some countries, plastic surgery is viewed as a symbol of status. In other countries, it is considered a social stigma and frowned upon by society at large. Another key motivator is whether a country's government may offer a subsidy or tax relief to people who choose to undergo plastic surgery. Brazil offers an example of both of these factors at work: Brazil offers its citizens tax relief and there is no stigma for getting plastic surgery; in fact, liposuction and breast implants are considered status symbols. These factors are strong influencers and contribute greatly to Brazil's status as one of the most plastic-surgery-loving countries in the world.
Procedures per 1k
Body and Extremities
Face and Head
Most Common Procedures And % Of Total
|United States||1,992,296||5.91||746,422||728,711||517,163||Liposuction (19.9), Breast Augmentation (19.0), Abdominoplasty (11.4), Breast Lift (8.4), Eyelid Surgery (7.5)|
|Brazil||1,634,220||7.62||623,160||398,100||612,960||Liposuction (15.8), Breast Augmentation (10.9), Eyelid Surgery (10.8), Abdominoplasty (7.8), Breast Lift (6.4)|
|Mexico||672,683||5.31||260,733||151,638||260,313||Liposuction (15.3), Breast Augmentation (11.6), Buttock Augmentation (9.5), Eyelid Surgery (7.9), Abdominoplasty (7.8)|
|Germany||476,951||5.72||145,855||141,143||189,953||Liposuction (16.8), Eyelid Surgery (14.6), Breast Augmentation (14.0), Lip Enhancement/Perioral Procedure (8.0), Abdominoplasty (6.5)|
|Turkey||464,490||5.48||126,386||129,519||208,585||Rhinoplasty (14.6), Liposuction (12.9), Breast Augmentation (10.6), Eyelid Surgery (7.1), Breast LIft (6.8)|
|Argentina||398,980||8.81||92,260||112,520||44,460||Breast Augmentation (16.9), Rhinoplasty (11.1), Eyelid Surgery (10.5), Liposuction (9.7), Lip Enhancement/Perioral Procedure (8.3)|
|Colombia||374,076||7.26||145,248||111,516||117,312||Liposuction (13.5), Breast Augmentation (11.7), Abdominoplasty (9.8), Buttock Augmentation (9.1), Eyelid Surgery (8.7)|
|India||370,656||0.26||134,808||92,760||143,088||Liposuction (22.3), Rhinoplasty (11.0), Breast Augmentation (8.5), Gynecomastia (8.4), Eyelid Surgery (6.6)|
|Italy||283,668||4.79||63,420||85,932||134,316||Breast Augmentation (14.6), Eyelid Surgery (11.8), Lip Enhancement/Perioral Procedure (11.3), Liposuction (9.6), Rhinoplasty (9.0)|
|Japan||265,733||2.13||16,217||6,094||243,422||Eyelid Surgery (57.5), Facelift (17.3), Fat Grafting - Face (8.7), Rhinoplasty (7.6), Liposuction (4.0)|
|Spain||219,600||4.62||44,784||78,336||96,480||Breast Augmentation (17.3), Eyelid Surgery (12.1), Lip Enhancement/Perioral Procedure (9.7), Breast LIft (8.6), Liposuction (7.8)|
|Thailand||106,372||1.49||17,675||18,202||70,495||Rhinoplasty (22.2), Eyelid Surgery (18.7), Breast Augmentation (9.1), Liposuction (8.1), Fat Grafting - Face (5.5)|
|Greece||66,164||6.33||17,507||15,169||33,488||Eyelid Surgery (15.4), Liposuction (14.1), Breast Augmentation (11.2), Rhinoplasty (8.6), Lip Enhancement/Perioral Procedure (8.2)|
|Romania||59,245||3.07||10,339||17,721||31,185||Breast Augmentation (19.3), Lip Enhancement/Perioral Procedure (16.9), Eyelid Surgery (12.0), Rhinoplasty (9.8), Liposuction (8.0)|
The United States leads the world in total number of plastic surgeries, with more than 4 million procedures performed per year (particularly liposuction, breast augmentation, and Botox injections). South Korea leads the world in number of procedures per capita, and favors rhinoplasty, liposuction, and blepharoplasty.