Is This Once-Popular Plastic Surgery Procedure Becoming a Thing of the Past?

While it’s still one of the more popular plastic surgery procedures here in the United States, rhinoplasties have experienced a sharp decline in the number of procedures since the year 2000. How much of a decline? Well, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the procedure has declined in popularity by 44 percent since the year 2000. So, what’s behind this baffling drop in popularity – and what does it mean for the future of rhinoplasties?

Dr. Bruce Chau is a plastic surgeon who performs both open and closed rhinoplasty procedures in his Berkeley, Michigan, practice. He believes the procedure is not going anywhere anytime soon – but that numbers can also be deceiving.

“If you look at the numbers, it sounds like nobody is getting rhinoplasties anymore, but nothing could be further from the truth,” says Chau. “Even though the procedure has been generally in decline, it was still the third most popular plastic surgery procedure in America.”

In fact, a total of 223,000 rhinoplasties were performed in 2016, falling only slightly behind breast augmentation and liposuction. And while the numbers have shifted a bit over the past nearly two decades, Chau doesn’t believe there’s a reason for surgeons to be concerned that this area of their business is dying.

“I have heard theories that people are simply becoming more accepting of their features, and indeed it seems that there is more acceptance for diversity in 2018,” he says. “But at the same time, there are also new ways to achieve results like rhinoplasty without needing to be as invasive as rhinoplasty. We can use fillers and Botox to make changes to the shape of the nose that don’t require cutting or any downtime.”

So, does this mean rhinoplasties are a dying art?

“Not at all,” Chau says. “It just means there are more options – more ways to achieve the look you want. Maybe you try fillers first and when your budget permits you get the rhinoplasty. But the fact that rhinoplasty is still the No. 3 procedure in America is a pretty strong indication that it’s here to stay.”