What Is the Future of Plastic Surgery?

Plastic and cosmetic surgery are medical procedures, and as medical science develops at breakneck speed, it seems like each year there are safer, less invasive, and more effective procedures to choose from. Do the trends back this up? And what does the future hold for cosmetic surgery?

Big ChangeWhat does the future look like for plastic surgery?s since 1997 for Cosmetic Surgery

The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery keeps rigorous historical data that’s useful for seeing what’s new in plastic surgery. You can access all of that data here.

The most significant change is the meteoric rise of nonsurgical procedures—mostly injectables like Botox, but also including things like laser skin resurfacing and DOT therapy. In 1997, as noninvasive procedures were just hitting the market, approximately 750,000 were performed—not much fewer than surgical procedures that year. By 2013, however, nonsurgical procedures had increased over 1,200% to nearly 10 million.

Over the same period, surgical procedures also showed a sizable increase, doubling to nearly two million. In both cases, the increase can be attributed to improvements in safety, affordability and convenience.

What’s Next for Plastic Surgery?

All the trends indicate that plastic surgery will continue to grow in popularity as it becomes less invasive and more affordable. What’s more, as doctors continue to take advantage of the latest research, new technologies and innovative techniques will improve the quality of procedures even further.

The biggest task for the future of plastic surgery is fat reduction, and radical new techniques have made it easier than ever to shed a few extra pounds that resist diet and exercise. CoolSculpting, for example, is a radical new procedure that destroys fat cells by selectively cooling them. Another new procedure takes the opposite approach—now fat cells can be eliminated using heat from radio waves. Add this to the already-popular trend of using lasers for skin rejuvenation, and you can see the enormous impact of advances in technology on the appeal of plastic surgery.

Since the first cleft palate surgery in 1827, plastic surgery has developed right alongside other medical science and technology. As research plows ahead at record speed, it will be exciting to see what comes next for plastic and cosmetic surgery.