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Plastic surgery statistics Australia

Finder research found that 6% of Australians – equivalent to 1.2 million people – have had plastic surgery in the past 12 months.

Statistics show plastic surgery is on the rise in Australia. With social media increasingly shaping our beauty ideals, it isn't hard to see why more and more Aussies want to change their appearance.

But this kind of beauty comes with a price tag. Finder analysis estimates Australians are spending more than $3 billion each year on cosmetic treatments from eyelash extensions and laser hair removal to Botox and plastic surgery.

How many Australians have had plastic surgery?

Finder's research found that 6% of Australians admit to having had some form of plastic surgery within the past 12 months – equivalent to 1.2 million people.

Australians spend a combined $1 billion each year on cosmetic treatments, according to the Australasian College of Cosmetic Surgery and Medicine. On a per-capita basis, that's 40% more than what Americans spend.

It's not just the operating table Aussies are lining up for. Other beauty treatments like teeth whitening (11%), laser hair removal (11%), eyelash extensions (8%) and Botox (6%) are attracting millions of customers each year.

How much do cosmetic treatments cost?

According to SBS Insight, a single session of Botox can cost up to $300 and only lasts 3-4 months.

Skin treatments like photorejuvenation (IPL) can set you back up to $300. Eyebrow microblading – a form of tattooing – can come to an eye-watering $650 per session.

When it comes to surgical procedures, prices can reach tens of thousands of dollars according to Costhetics. A facelift can cost anywhere from $8,000 to $21,000, and rhinoplasty (a nose job) ranges between $8,000 and $20,000.

An eyelid surgery procedure – one of the most common cosmetic operations – can cost between $4,500 and $8,000.

There were 102,404 cosmetic surgery procedures in 2018, plus an additional 100,238 non-surgical procedures.

The most popular procedures are breast augmentation (17,553), eyelid surgery (11,444) and liposuction (9,839).

The statistics don't include non-surgical procedures such as breast lifts (7,223) and breast implant removals (4,505).

Male plastic surgery is on the rise

In 2019, men accounted for 7% of plastic surgery procedures in the US and 10% of injectable treatments like Botox, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

The most common surgical procedures for men are liposuction and gynecomastia (male breast reduction).

Although there is no equivalent data published in Australia, anecdotal reports from local plastic surgeons indicate the trend exists here too.

The Australasian Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (ASAPS) has reported an increase in male cosmetic surgery procedures, including male breast reduction, liposuction and "Brotox".

Interest in Botox is growing

Around 2.2 million people worldwide search for Botox every month, according to Google trends data as of March 2022.

This is an increase of 57% when compared to just 4 years ago in 2018.

Lip blushing, lip filler and eyebrow lamination have also seen a strong increase in interest over the past few years.

Which countries have the most plastic surgery?

In 2018, there were 102,404 cosmetic surgery procedures in Australia, according to the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (ISAPS). When compared to the global giants, this is not much to look at. Countries like the US and Brazil are renowned for being plastic surgery meccas, boasting 1.5 million and 1.3 million surgeries per year.

However, when you account for population, the story changes. Greece has a rate of 750 surgeries per 100,000 people – the highest of the countries included in the ISAPS dataset. This is followed by Argentina (630 per 100,000), Brazil (615 per 100,000) and Germany (508 per 100,000).

At 402 per 100,000, Australians are more likely to undergo plastic surgery than their Spanish, Russian or Japanese counterparts. With a national spend of $1 billion on cosmetic procedures, Australians surprisingly spend 40% more than Americans per capita.

When it comes to the number of plastic surgeons, the US leads the world with 7,000 qualified surgeons. Brazil (5,843) trails closely in second place. However, once we account for population, South Korea has the highest rate of plastic surgeons (5 per 100,000), followed by Argentina (4.4 per 100,000).

Australia has just 424 qualified plastic surgeons – equivalent to 1.7 per 100,000. This is more than the rate of surgeons in France, Mexico, Russia and the UK.

Does health insurance cover plastic surgery?

Neither Medicare nor private health insurance covers cosmetic procedures that aren't medically necessary. However, you can receive health insurance cover for plastic and reconstructive surgeries needed to restore health and bodily function.

This could include repairing nasal deformities that cause breathing problems, breast reconstruction following cancer removal, repairing scars or burns on the skin and repairing cleft palates among other surgeries.

Typically, this kind of cover is available under bronze-level hospital policies and above.

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