Visualizing the growth in cosmetic surgery

on May 19, 2010

Would you believe that nearly 13M people had a cosmetic procedure last year? Thanks to a dataset just released by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons that we found on the Guardian Datablog, we have visualized the change in cosmetic procedures from 2008 to 2009. Take a look at the viz below to learn more!

With the popularity of new non-invasive cosmetic treatments like Botox and microdermabrasions, traditional cosmetic surgery is being driven out of popularity. As you can see from the view to the top right, the number of minimally invasive treatments has risen while surgeries have fallen. Not too surprising in the face of a major recession, as surgeries are generally much more expensive.

What we like about this viz

Highlighted mark labels: The labels for this visualization, all together, are a little hard to read. By activating them only when a user has highlighted the value, the viz is simplified but still analytically valuable.


Yes, I agree. With growing popularity in the non-invasive surgeries, it's also enchouraging to see that many more people are opting for the milder form of treatment. Whether this means that the majority of people in the sample population are happier with their appearance than the minority or whether this reflects financial constraints amongst the average subject, I don't know. It would be interesting to find out though.


It would also be interesting to see whether cosmetic surgery, indicated by facelift prices, is symptomatic of a lowering of the self-esteem in the population in general.

Knowing whether the pressure of been as close to the accepted 'beautiful' state as possible, is greater than the financial constraints and at what point in the scale of dissatisfaction with self one has to be at to spend everything to look 'better', could be of benefit to the creators of educational and nhs policies.