These plastic surgery procedures are a growing business and arguably a media obsession for both women and men. In both the USA & UK it is one of the top five popular cosmetic surgeries.
In the UK, breast surgeries have been steadily increasing in popularity in recent years. The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons, London, UK released its annual audit figures on 26 January 2009 (1). 34,000 cosmetic surgery procedures were carried out, a threefold increase since 2003. 91% of patients were women, with breast augmentation the most popular treatment, increasing by 30% on the previous year. Breast reductions also increased by 13%.
Male breast reduction had increased from 22 operations in 2003 to 323 last year, highlighting the exponential increase in popularity for this surgery.
In the USA, however, 2008 figures from The American Society of Plastic Surgeons bucked the trend (2). Breast augmentation surgeries were reported be down by 12%, breast reduction down by 16 percent and breast uplift surgeries down by 11% on 2008. In the same year, a staggering 17,902 male patients had breast reduction surgeries. But overall breast surgeries remained one of the five most popular cosmetic surgical procedures.
For women, cosmetic surgery offers three major choices:
Breast augmentation (the classic ‘boob job’) aims to enlarge the breast size by
inserting silicone or saline implants into the breast tissues via incisions generally made in the curved crease underneath each breast.
Breast reduction procedures reduce the quantity of breast tissue and simultaneously uplift the remaining tissue. The nipple and areola may also be repositioned if the shape of the breast changes due to the reduction in a way that would leave the ‘normal’ position looking ‘unnatural’.
Breast uplifting aims to change the position of the breasts where the tissues have lost a desirable shape. This is usually performed without changing the size of the breast and simply repositions breasts that have lost firmness and/or become flatter.
For men – the new ‘male boob job’
The medical term for the male breast which is overdeveloped or enlarged is gynecomastia. This is a commonly occurring stage in adolescent young men with 90% of cases resolving within months as hormonal changes occur. In adult men, the most common age for this condition is the middle to later years, occurring with perhaps 40-60% of men. Surgery to reduce excess chest fat eliminating gynaecomastia is the second fastest growing cosmetic surgery for men in the UK. Liposuction techniques or excision (surgical removal of tissue) may be used alone or combined with each other, depending on the individual patients needs.
DISCLAIMER: No information here can be used as medical advice or used to make healthcare decision! Please only consult professional physicians for advice.
1. British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons. 2009. Cosmetic rates of inflation: male, female breast ops on the rise. [online]. London: British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons. Available at:
- American Society of Plastic Surgeons. 2009. 2008 Female Plastic Surgery Statistics. [online] Illinois: American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Available at: