20 Most Common Plastic Surgeries

woman getting a facelift
Face lifts are among the most common plastic surgeries performed today. See more getting beautiful skin pictures.

If you're not happy with the body you see in the mirror, you're not alone. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), there were more than 1.8 million cosmetic surgeries and 8.4 million minimally invasive cosmetic procedures (i.e. Botox injections, laser hair removal) performed in the United States in 2005. Here are the top 20 cosmetic surgeries.


1. Liposuction

Woman having liposuction
Liposuction is the most popular type of cosmetic surgery in the United States.
Image Source

Liposuction is the removal of fat deposits using a tube inserted beneath the skin; fat is then sucked out using a vacuum-like device. The procedure is often performed on the abdomen, buttocks, hips, thighs, and upper arms. Of the 323,605 liposuctions performed in 2005, 89 percent of the patients were women. Recovery times range from one to four weeks, but it may take up to six months for all the swelling to go down. This procedure will suck about $2,300 out of your wallet.


2. Rhinoplasty

Commonly called a nose job, rhinoplasty is the reshaping of the nose to make it bigger or smaller, to narrow the span of the nostrils, or to change the angle between the nose and upper lip. Rhinoplasty is popular with men and women -- of the 298,413 rhinoplasty procedures done in 2005, 67 percent were performed on women. People typically need one to three weeks to recover, but they are advised to avoid bumping their noses or getting them sunburned for eight weeks. Rhinoplasty will run about $3,500 for physician's fees.


3. Breast augmentation

Silicone breast implants
Silicone breast implants tend to have a more natural look and feel than saline implants.
Peter Dazeley/Photographer's Choice/Getty Images

Breast augmentation, or augmentation mammaplasty, is the enlarging of a woman's breasts using saline- or silicone-filled implants. There were 291,350 breast augmentation procedures performed in 2005, making this the top cosmetic surgery procedure among women. The surgery requires only a few days of recovery time, although the ASPS recommends there be no physical contact with the breasts for three to four weeks. Physician's fees for breast augmentation average $3,400.

It makes sense that liposuction and breast enlargement would be at the top of a list of most common plastic surgeries. Read on to find out about other procedures like eyelid surgery and the face lift.


4. Eyelid surgery

In eyelid surgery, or blepharoplasty, drooping upper eyelids and bags below the eyes are corrected by removing extra fat, muscle, and skin. Women improve their peepers far more often than men -- of the 230,697 blepharoplasty procedures performed in 2005, 86 percent of patients were women. Patients need a week to ten days to recover, but those who wear contacts need two weeks or more before they wear their corrective lenses. Although the procedure doesn't improve your sight, your eyes will look better as you write the $2,500 check for physician's fees.


5. Tummy tuck

Many people undergo abdominoplasty procedures, seeking the coveted flat stomach.

Beer guts may be more associated with men, but women by far get more abdominoplasty procedures. The abdomen is flattened during the surgery when extra fat and skin are removed and abdominal muscles are tightened. In 2005, plastic surgeons performed 134,746 tummy tucks -- 96 percent of them on women. Patients need two to six weeks of recovery time, but the wallet will probably need longer to replenish the $4,400 in physician's fees.


6. Face-lift

senior caucasian woman looking at herself in the mirror
A face lift can help smooth out wrinkles and reduce the signs of aging.

Is anything actually being raised? Not really, but excess fat is removed and muscles are tightened before the skin is redraped. Besides, face-lift is easier to say than rhytidectomy, the medical name of the procedure. No matter what you call it, a face-lift results in tighter skin on the face and neck. Of the 108,955 face-lifts performed in 2005, women received 90 percent of them. It takes ten days to three weeks to recover, but sun exposure must be limited for several months. Your face will be tighter, but you won't smile when you see the average bill of $4,500 for physician's fees.


7. Breast lift

A breast lift, or mastopexy, is performed on women who want to raise and reshape their sagging breasts. The procedure removes extra skin and repositions the remaining tissue and nipples. In 2005, surgeons performed 92,740 breast lifts at an average cost of $3,600. Recovery can take a week to a month.


8. Dermabrasion

The epidermis is resurfaced during microdermabrasion and shows reduced signs of sun damage and fine lines.
Photo courtesy Spa at The Mill

Although it sounds like a medieval torture tactic, 69,359 people received dermabrasion in 2005. With dermabrasion, wrinkles and facial blemishes are literally rubbed out as a surgeon uses a high-speed, rotating tool to scrape away the top layers of skin, leaving softer, newer layers. Women make up 88 percent of dermabrasion patients. Recovery time is typically two to six weeks, but the face may have a red tint for three months. The actual procedure will leave you a little red in the face, but the cost won't. Physician's fees average $875.

Everyone has heard of tummy tucks and face lifts. Read on to find out more about unusual surgeries such as ear surgery and hair transplantation.


9. Forehead lift

This procedure straightens out lines and droops by removing tissue and tightening the skin and forehead muscles. Getting over this procedure will take you one to three weeks or more, but you will have to stay out of the sun for several months. Women received 87 percent of the 55,518 forehead lifts in 2005. Physician's fees will set you back about $2,400.


10. Hair transplantation

man with male pattern baldness giving political speech
Unfortunately, hair transplants do not work on alopecia areata because it's what doctors call recipient dominant, meaning patches have no potential for hair growth.
Digital Vision/Getty Images

Finally, men have an insecurity they can own! If things are a little too bare on top, a surgeon can reduce the amount of scalp you have or insert clusters of hair (plugs) right into the noggin. Depending on the technique used, several visits to the surgeon over 18 months may be required to restore your mane to its former glory. Men were the recipients of 83 percent of the 47,462 hair transplants in 2005. You'll have more hair, but you may not have much money left for hair gel or mousse after shelling out $4,750 in physician's fees.

11. Ear surgery

Large ears or ears that prominently stick out from the head can cause a lot of grief, especially for children. That's why kids make up most of the patients who undergo ear surgery (otoplasty), where the ear's skin or cartilage is removed or bent back to bring the ears closer to the head. Of the 27,993 otoplasty procedures performed in 2005, 59 percent were done on females. The head is usually bandaged for a few days and stitches are removed in about a week. Any activity that might bend the ear should be avoided for about a month. Physician's fees cost about $2,400.

12. Lip augmentation

lip augmentation
When topical lip plumpers aren't enough, some women go under the knife.
Helen McArdle/Digital Vision/Getty Images

If your puckers aren't as prominent as you like, you can pump them up with lip augmentation, where a surgeon will hollow out a portion of your lip and insert an implant to give your lips more body. It usually takes two or three weeks for the swelling from this procedure to subside. Full lips are more valuable to women than they are to men -- of the 25,878 lip augmentation procedures performed in 2005, 95 percent were done on women. How many smackers will this surgery set you back? Physician's fees average about $1,200.

13. Breast implant removal

Some women who have their breasts surgically enlarged later decide to have the implants removed. This, of course, requires another surgery and another couple weeks of recovery. In 2005, 24,694 women had their breast implants removed. Breast implant removal is a cheaper proposition than having them inserted, with physician's fees averaging $2,300.

14. Breast reduction (men)

A condition called gynecomastia causes some men to develop breasts that resemble women's. There are many possible causes of gynecomastia, including hormonal changes during puberty, drug use, tumors, genetic disorders, liver disease, and some medications. The larger breasts are often due to excess fat or glandular tissue; in a breast reduction surgery, this extra matter is removed. Gynecomastia is fairly common; in fact, according to the ASPS, the condition affects 40 to 60 percent of men. In 2005, 16,275 breast reduction surgeries were performed on men at an average cost of $3,000. Recovery usually takes two to three weeks.

Continue to the next page to find out what other common plastic surgeries are being performed, including the cheek implant and the buttock lift.

15. Chin augmentation

Jude Law
Actor Jude Law is famous for his good looks, including his cleft chin.
Jim Spellman/Getty Images

Those who feel their face lacks a certain amount of proportion often have their chin altered to enhance their profile. Chin augmentation, or mentoplasty, usually involves either inserting an implant into the chin or changing the shape of the bone. This is often done to improve facial symmetry after another cosmetic procedure. Most patients can return to normal living a week after surgery, but numbness or discomfort may continue for three months. Men received 58 percent of the 15,161 chin augmentation surgeries in 2005. You won't take it on the chin when paying for this operation because physician's fees average $1,600.

16. Upper arm lift

One of the hardest places to tone is the upper arm, especially in women. The skin in this area becomes loose and fat deposits lead to a jellylike movement when waving. One solution is an upper arm lift, or brachioplasty, where a surgeon removes the excess fat (often using liposuction) and tightens the skin. Most people bounce back from the surgery in a week or less and can resume exercise in two weeks. Women received 96 percent of the 11,873 upper arm lifts done in 2005. Physician's fees average $3,260.

17. Thigh lift

detail of cellulite on woman leg isolated on white
A thigh lift can help reduce cellulite on the legs.
©iStockphoto.com/Stéphane Bidouze

Cottage cheese is a tasty source of protein, but it's not a good look on the thighs. Cellulite causes that dimpled look, but a thigh lift can remove extra skin and fat to make legs look better. Women are much more likely to get a thigh lift than men; of the 9,533 thigh lifts performed in 2005, women received 95 percent of them. Be sure you use your shapely new legs to lift the bill--physician's fees average $4,200.

18. Cheek implant

As a child you may have cringed when old Aunt Gertrude would grab your plump cheeks and give them a good squeeze, but these days, people are paying good money for those pinch-inspiring cheeks. A cheek implant, or malar augmentation, is a procedure in which an implant is inserted below the cheekbone to give the face a fuller look. Of the 9,326 cheek implants performed in 2005, women received 62 percent of them. It might take a month or two to fully recover from the swelling caused by this surgery. Those high cheekbones don't come with a high price tag; average physician's fees are $1,760.

19. Lower body lift

Surgery should only be considered as an option when diet and exercise aren't enough.

If you're going to get plastic surgery, why not get more than one part worked on at the same time? A lower body lift corrects sagging areas of the hips, thighs, and buttocks by removing excess fat and tissue and tightening the skin. Women underwent 86 percent of the 8,696 lower body lifts in 2005. This major procedure requires a month or two of recovery time, and it will be even longer before exercising and heavy lifting can be resumed. If you're going in for that much tightening, you better not have a tight grip on your wallet. This surgery costs about $6,400.

20. Buttock lift

Maybe your hips and thighs are okay, but your rump could use a bump up. If so, a buttock lift is in order to remove excess skin and tissue and raise the buttocks. In some cases, implants are used to give the area more shape. Of the 5,193 buttock lifts performed in 2005, women were the recipients of 92 percent of them. Recovery takes about two weeks, but swelling may remain for several months. Improving your derriere will set your financial bottom line back about $3,790.

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