What Were the Most Searched Cosmetic Procedures of 2019?


As the year winds to a close, it’s time to reflect on the past year, trends that came and went, and how the past will impact the new year to come. As a plastic surgeon, I was naturally intrigued when I saw RealSelf’s recent round-up of some of the most-searched cosmetic treatments of 2019—and I wondered how their list would compare to the procedures my patients have been asking about here in Richmond.


BOTOX reigns as the most popular non-surgical treatment

It should come as no surprise that RealSelf users searched for BOTOX more than any other non-surgical treatment. As the longest-running neurotoxin injectable on the market, BOTOX has been the go-to injectable for reducing expression lines on the forehead, between the eyebrows, and around the eyes for nearly two decades. While new, comparable products have been introduced in the last few years, many patients continue to place their trust in the long-standing, well-documented safety and efficacy profile of BOTOX.


Another reason BOTOX tops the searches could be due to the fact that many people use the name as shorthand for any injectable, just as the name Kleenex has come to mean facial tissue.


My verdict: while my patients enjoy a variety of non-surgical treatments and injectables, BOTOX is by far our most popular option for smoothing lines in the upper face—and I can’t see popularity dwindling for quite a while.


Microneedling gains more interest

Though collagen induction therapy (microneedling) has been around for quite a while, interest in this non-invasive option for boosting skin health has steadily increased over the last few years. It rose two spots in the rankings for searches on RealSelf during 2019, as more and more people look for ways to naturally improve skin health and appearance.


My verdict: my Richmond microneedling patients love seeing subtle improvements in their skin texture and tone after a few quick sessions. Because microneedling doesn’t come with downtime or many side effects, we see more patients opting for this treatment over deeper chemical peels or laser skin resurfacing. It’s excellent when you want a quick pick-me-up for your skin or are looking to enhance results from other procedures.

Breast augmentation still tops searches, while other women are ready to go au natural

Breast augmentation still holds the number one surgical spot on RealSelf—and that popularity is reinforced by stats from the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) which show the procedure has consistently been among the top-five for a few decades.


Even so, some women are ready to return to having a smaller bust for various reasons, and RealSelf noted that searches for breast implant removal moved up five spots in their search tallies for 2019. Some women on the platform say their tastes or lifestyle have changed, while others cite breast implant-related health conditions such as BIA-ALCL (a rare disease associated with textured implants) or elusive inflammatory conditions as motivation for having their breast implants removed.


My verdict: I still see many Richmond breast augmentation patients per year, including some women who have aging implants and want an “upgrade” or implant exchange. A growing focus on a more natural look has also impacted what some women want out of breast augmentation—many of my patients opt for low profile or small breast implants with the goal of achieving nuanced enhancements in size and shape.


I also fully support my patients who choose to have their breast implants removed, whether it is for lifestyle or health reasons, and help them reach the best possible resolution and results.

Trends come and go. Experience always matters.

I love understanding what patients find most interesting in any given year but, while trends are fluid, a few things remain constant. Namely, people simply want to feel more attractive and confident—and a skilled, experienced surgeon is key to achieving that goal.


If a patient comes in asking about a particular treatment or technique they heard about, it’s most important for me to understand their goals. Thanks to advances in technology and more nuanced surgical techniques, I often have multiple solutions to offer and, together with the patient, arrive at the most fitting choice.


Better yet, rather than focusing on a specific procedure, I advise anyone hoping to make a change in the coming year to seek an experienced, board certified plastic surgeon with a stellar safety record and then go from there.


If you’re in Richmond and want to learn more about solutions that can help you look and feel your best, please contact my office to schedule a private consultation.