Brexit – the acronym for Britain leaving the European Union – is being blamed for economic and other problems, but plastic surgeons on Monday attributed a major drop in people going under the knife for aesthetic reasons to last year’s referendum vote.
From breast augmentation to liposuction to face and neck lifts to rhinoplasty – all cosmetic surgeries showed a drop during 2016, attributed to what the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAPS) described as “a climate of global unrest” and “bad news overload”.
The association cited recent research to explain that the Brexit vote had led people to engage less in activities that require trust or certainty, affecting life changes, housing decisions, investment and consumption.
Consultant plastic surgeon and former BAAPS president Rajiv Grover, who compiles the audit on an annual basis, said: “In a climate of global fragility, the public are less likely to spend on significant alterations and become more fiscally conservative, by and large opting for less costly non-surgical procedures such as chemical peels and microdermabrasion, rather than committing to more permanent changes.
“The background of negative news and economic uncertainty seems to have re-invigorated the famous British ‘stiff upper lip’ –achieved, however, through dermal fillers and wrinkle-relaxing injections, rather than surgery.”
BAPS said the number of cosmetic operations last year dropped 40% after reaching record-breaking heights in 2015. For the first time in almost a decade of relatively consistent growth, cosmetic surgical procedure totals for women and men combined dipped below 31,000.
Nearly 50% fewer men underwent surgery in 2016 compared to 2015, while women's cosmetic surgery dropped 39%.
Breast augmentation remained the most popular procedure for women, with 7,732 undergoing surgery, but overall numbers sagged by 20%. Abdominoplasty surgery remained popular for both genders.
BAPS, based at the Royal College of Surgeons, is a not-for-profit organisation that was established for the advancement of education and practice of aesthetic plastic surgery for public benefit.