Watching aesthetic trends shift in real time is wild, isn’t it? Last year, when the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (AAFPRS), unveiled their annual study on aesthetic trends, it reported that we were quick to embrace buccal fat removal. However, this year, the focus has shifted from cheek reductions to a resurgence in cherishing our cheeks—especially with the emergence of the “Ozempic face” trend. Yet, restoring volume to the cheeks is not the sole procedure gaining popularity. Here, let’s break down the most sought-after procedures that individuals are turning to facial plastic surgeons for.
Facelifts on the Rise
The new report reveals a remarkable surge in facelifts, marking a 60 percent increase since 2017. Innovative techniques like subcutaneous and deep plane facelifts are contributing to this renaissance, attracting a younger demographic. “I have seen this, and the procedure is growing in popularity. The public has become aware of the technical advances in this procedure. I would credit several pioneering surgeons who have collectively advanced our understanding of the optimal techniques to create a really good surgical outcome over the past decade or so,” says Cleveland, OH facial plastic surgeon and AAFPRS president elect Patrick J. Byrne, MD. “This ‘extended deep plane facelift’ is different from several other ‘hyped’ versions of facelifts. It really is a better procedure. It produces more impressive, longer-lasting, more natural-looking results.”
Among women, facelifts topped the list as the most sought-after procedure, with a significant 86 percent of surgeons performing this cosmetic surgery. Following closely, the next preferred options for females included nose jobs, or “rhinoplasties,” at 79 percent, and eye lifts, known as “blepharoplasties,” at 73 percent, respectively.
“At some point in the aging process and with a certain degree of laxity and sagging, you will get diminishing returns on your non-invasive procedures,” says AAFPRS president Sherard Tatum. “At this point, it’s best to opt for a facelift or partial facelift to get the desired effect. Facelifts also soared in popularity this year due to the ‘Ozempic Effect’ where patients lost a large amount of weight in a condensed period of time, resulting in sagging skin.”
Gen Z in the Treatment Room
While Generation Alpha is busy at Sephora, the study shows Gen Z is leaning into aesthetic treatments at a growing pace, with 77 percent of AAFPRS members predicting a greater emphasis on early maintenance and prevention. “We are seeing patients coming in at a younger and younger age for facial cosmetic treatments. Our Gen Z patients are well educated and sophisticated when it comes to the latest advances in aesthetics,” notes Indianapolis, IN facial plastic surgeon Mark M. Hamilton, MD. “They view taking care of their skin and their appearance as an essential reflection of their health. They do their homework and research when it comes to understanding procedures. I’ve found that because of social media and other factors, Gen Z patients are much more aware of their facial appearances.”
Changing Dynamics in Male Aesthetics
While women continue to dominate the facial plastic surgery landscape, a notable shift is observed in what surgeries men are undergoing. AAFPRS reports a 44 percent increase in surgeons expecting more men to undergo treatments, with rhinoplasty, blepharoplasty, and facelifts leading the way (in that order). “I think men are starting to jump on the bandwagon of cosmetic surgery,” says Baltimore, MD facial plastic surgeon Theda Kontis, MD. “I am seeing an increase in couples coming in for injectables and surgery. I think social media, increase in selfies, and Zoom have all contributed to this. Men feel less embarrassed to have cosmetic treatments.”
Future Trends—AI Integration
The survey points to an evolving landscape with a spotlight on Artificial Intelligence’s role in facial aesthetics with innovations involving 3-D imaging possibilities and custom computer-generated facial implants. “Our field is growing at such a fast pace. It’s an exciting time to be in facial plastic and reconstructive surgery,” says Dr. Tatum. “Over the next year, we will certainly see the rise of AI in aesthetic medicine as surgeons integrate this technology to better analyze facial features, guide both their cosmetic and reconstructive surgery work, and predict outcomes of interventions over time.”
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