The 10 Most Common Plastic Surgery Procedures

According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), around 16 million cosmetic surgeries are performed in the United States every year. While women account for 92% of these surgeries, the number of men pursuing plastic surgery continues to increase.

These include such sought-after procedures as liposuction, rhytidectomy ("facelift"), rhinoplasty ("nose job"), blepharoplasty ("eye job"), abdominoplasty ("tummy tuck"), breast augmentation in women, and breast reduction in men and women.

This article describes the 10 most common plastic surgeries performed on females and males according to the ASPS.

Portrait of female surgeon standing in operation theater
Wavebreakmedia / Getty Images
Top 5 Plastic Surgeries for Females
  • Rhinoplasty

  • Blepharoplasty

  • Facelift

  • Breast augmentation

  • Liposuction

Top 5 Plastic Surgeries for Males
  • Rhinoplasty

  • Blepharoplasty

  • Cheek implant

  • Liposuction

  • Ear surgery


Liposuction is a procedure that suctions fat from specific parts of the body (such as the thighs or belly) to create a slimmer silhouette.

There are several types of liposuction:

  • Tumescent liposuction: This involves an injection of a numbing agent, a vasodilator (a drug that narrows blood vessels), and a saline (salt) solution into the treated area. The liquid along with fat is suctioned using a narrow tube-shaped instrument called a cannula.
  • Ultrasonic-assisted liposuction (UAL): For this procedure, cannulas inserted beneath the skin release ultrasonic energy to melt fat so that it can be suctioned. It is a somewhat riskier procedure that can cause internal and external burns.

The average person is able to return to work within a few days after undergoing liposuction, depending on the extent of the treatment.

Breast Augmentation

Breast augmentation, the surgical enlargement of a woman’s breasts, has become very popular with over 300,000 procedures done every year in the United States.

The surgery is pursued for many reasons, including:

  • To enlarge both breasts
  • To make asymmetrical breasts equal in size
  • To create breasts that do not develop during puberty (known as congenital micromastia)

Silicone implants, once banned as a health risk, have increased in popularity in recent years. According to the ASPS, 84% of women who had breast augmentation in 2020 opted for silicone implants.

Most people can return to normal activity within one or two weeks of undergoing breast augmentation. High-impact physical activities may need to be delayed several weeks or months more.


Blepharoplasty is eyelid-reshaping surgery. There are two types often performed together:

  • Upper blepharoplasty: This is also known as an eyelid lift. This can be done for cosmetic reasons or to improve vision when sagging eyelids obstruct your vision.
  • Lower blepharoplasty: This involves the removal of fat pads that create “bags” under the eyes. The overlying skin may also be tightened to reduce sagging.

Most people can usually go out in public within 10 to 14 days of blepharoplasty, although it can take several more weeks for swelling and bruising to fully settle.

Is Blepharoplasty Covered by Insurance?

Blepharoplasty may be covered by insurance if a sagging eyelid skin obstructs your vision. Your healthcare provider can provide medical motivation to your insurer. Check for copay or coinsurance costs to estimate what you will need to pay out of pocket.


Abdominoplasty, commonly known as a tummy tuck, removes excess skin from the abdominal area and tightens the remaining skin. This surgery is often performed when people have a sagging belly after pregnancy or have lost significant weight after bariatric surgery.

The ideal candidate for abdominoplasty does not have excess belly fat but rather too much skin hanging from the abdomen.

Most people are able to resume normal activities two to three weeks after a tummy tuck but may need to avoid strenuous activities for several more weeks or months.

Reduction Mammaplasty

Reduction mammaplasty (commonly known as breast reduction surgery) can be used for cosmetic purposes, but its benefits go well beyond appearance. Women with very heavy or large breasts often have difficulty finding clothes that fit. They can also experience chronic back and neck pain as a result of being "top-heavy."

Breast reduction surgery can also be used to make asymmetrical breasts even in size.

Reduction mammaplasty is a permanent solution to having disproportionate or oversized breasts. Most people can usually return to work within two weeks of the surgery.

Is Breast Reduction Covered by Insurance?

Breast reduction surgery is routinely covered by insurance if done for medical reasons. Examples include chronic back pain that is not relieved by other more conservative treatments. Breast enlargement surgery is not covered by insurance.


Rhinoplasty, also known as a "nose job," is used to reshape the nose and bring it into balance with the rest of the face. The surgeon may reduce the overall size of the nose or refine specific areas of the nose.

Rhinoplasty may be used with a surgery known as septoplasty to treat a deviated septum (a misshapen nasal passage that can affect breathing). In such cases, insurance will pay for some or all of the surgery.

Bruising can be obvious after rhinoplasty but should fade over the next 10 days.


A rhytidectomy, or facelift, is a surgical solution to wrinkles and sagging that occur with aging. A facelift creates a more youthful appearance by gently pulling facial skin tighter, smoothing deep lines and reducing drooping skin.

A facelift is frequently combined with other procedures, such as a blepharoplasty, platysmaplasty ("neck lift"), or skin peels.

Sutures are usually removed five to 10 days after a facelift, but recovery will take several weeks.


Mastopexy, also known as a breast lift, is used for sagging or poorly shaped breasts. A breast lift repositions the breast for a more upright appearance.

A person may pursue a breast lift after experiencing significant weight loss or when pregnancy leaves the breasts looking limp and less firm. Some women opt to have a breast lift combined with breast augmentation.

Most people who undergo mastopexy are able to return to work within two weeks and resume full physical activity within a month.


Similar to a facelift, browplasty (also known as a "brow lift") pulls the skin of the forehead tighter to remove wrinkles and smooth creases. This also helps correct drooping eyebrows, "hooded" eyelids, a furrowed forehead, and frown lines.

Compared to a facelift, a brow lift won't change the horizontal aspect of the eyes as much and is less likely to cause the "windblown" look that some people with facelifts complain about.

Most people are able to resume normal activity within 10 days of browplasty, but recovery can be significantly longer if combined with other facial surgeries.

Gynecomastia Treatment

Male reduction mammoplasty is a surgery used to remove excess breast tissue caused by gynecomastia.  Gynecomastia is the abnormal enlargement of the breasts caused by an imbalance of female and male hormones. It is common in older men but can affect younger men and boys as well.

Compared to reduction mammoplasty in females, reduction mammoplasty in males removes nearly all excess fat and tissues in the breasts. This helps define the pectoral muscles to create a firmer and more contoured chest appearance.

Surgeons typically make an incision around the nipple so that the scar is not noticeable.

Most people who undergo gynecomastia surgery are able to return to work within a week and are able to return to normal activity within a few weeks.

14 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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By Jennifer Whitlock, RN, MSN, FN
Jennifer Whitlock, RN, MSN, FNP-C, is a board-certified family nurse practitioner. She has experience in primary care and hospital medicine.