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Shifting celebrity culture cited as contributory factor to drop in cosmetic surgery procedures

Posted: 26/06/2017


“I’ve had so much plastic surgery, when I die they will donate my body to Tupperware,” said the late Joan Rivers. Whilst Miss Rivers was defined throughout her career by regularly going under the knife, 2016 statistics suggest that the image-conscious may be turning their backs on certain cosmetic enhancements.

What do the results show?

Data collated by the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) shows that after 10 years of growth, the number of cosmetic operations carried out in 2016 fell by 40% to below 31,000.  Following a record-breaking total in 2015, this figure for women and men combined is 5% less than in 2007.

Considering the results

Nadia Mendoza, an entertainment journalist and co-founder of the Self-Esteem Team, which provides classes on mental health and body image across UK schools and colleges, said: “With the web, the vloggers and ‘Insta-famous’ have risen to the surface, and instead of trading on looks, they trade on relatability.” It is widely believed that the changes to celebrity culture, combined with a few high-profile surgical issues, may have contributed to the reduction in the numbers of cosmetic procedures being performed.

It is also notable that celebrities who have previously undergone surgery, such as Victoria Beckham and Katie Price, have since had their breast implants removed, sending a powerful message to fans. TV shows such as Channel 5’s ‘Botched Up Bodies’ also warn viewers in no uncertain terms how cosmetic surgeries can go wrong.

BAAPS president, Simon Withey, said: “The 2016 audit demonstrates that patients seem to be getting the message that cosmetic surgery is not a quick fix … and are, as a result, carefully evaluating risks as well as the benefits surgery may offer.”

Future implications

It is hoped that the reported decline in cosmetic surgery will bring renewed calls for better regulation. This was a position recently supported by the Royal College of Surgeons and the NHS. (If you are interested in learning more about the regulation of cosmetic surgeries, please see our previous article on this topic).

Alison Johnson, associate director in Penningtons Manches’ clinical negligence team and a specialist in cosmetic surgery claims, comments: “Despite the 2016 statistics indicating a decline in the cosmetic surgery field, it should not be overlooked that the number of non-surgical treatments, such as facial injectables, has continued to rise steadily. Going forward, tighter regulation has the potential to improve the safety, quality and long-term costs of those procedures.”

How can we help?

Penningtons Manches’ clinical negligence team is experienced in representing patients who have received negligent cosmetic treatment. While each case is of course unique, it is possible to claim damages where cosmetic surgery has caused psychological or physical injuries. If you have any concerns or queries about treatment that you or a family member has received, please contact the specialist team on 0800 328 7545.


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