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Most Popular Elective Surgeries Globally in 2020

To say the least, 2020 will be remembered as being an unprecedented and surprising year for myriad reasons. Whilst most of the world shut down for many months out of the year, and travel restrictions – including for medical travel and medical tourism – were put in place globally, there was in fact an uptick in the number of cosmetic surgeries carried out throughout the year. The reasons for this are plentiful: it was the year when we all spent more time on online calls than ever before, constantly looking at our own faces, and also it gave us the time to think about what we want to do, and for many this included having more disposable income due to not having to commute and not spending as much on new clothes, going to concerts, eating out, etc. Below we highlight the most popular elective surgeries of 2020.

Eye-related treatments

The use of face masks, in conjunction with people participating more in self-care whilst we’ve had the time for it being at home more, has made people hyper-aware of their eyes and the surrounding area which has led to an increase in elective treatments such as Botox, brow lifts, and eyelash extensions. These procedures are customarily minimally invasive and result in minor, less drastic changes, and in some cases are preventative.

Pre-Covid, Botox around the eye area was predominantly requested by people whose skin was already creasing1, whereas now the trend has shifted to requests from people without pronounced wrinkling in this area.

Interestingly, there has been an almost 30% rise in people requesting mid- and upper- face injections2, most notably brow lifts to smooth out the forehead and any frown lines. This was quite often paired with lash extensions to complete the look.

Lip injections

On the flip-side of people wearing face masks, this mandate has provided a unique shield for the lower half of the face. Following lip injections there is usually some swelling and bruising, so the mask hides any unsightly changes that people may be self-conscious about. Whilst it was predicted that the number of people requesting lip filler treatments would decrease during the pandemic, the mandated mask-wearing situation has provided a unique opportunity for people to experiment – including many first-time treatments being booked1.

Preventative skin tightening

Increased time spent on Zoom calls and FaceTime has also drawn people’s attention to their jawline. Submental liposuction – a more invasive means of removing fat to reduce sagging skin beneath the jawline – has risen in this new era, mostly from a younger clientele. However, as this treatment is costly and requires a week of recovery and downtime compared with less invasive treatments, less invasive alternatives have to be provided to meet the demands. This is where mono-threading comes in to play. This innovation relies on pins, or threads, akin to acupuncture injected around the contour of the jawline and is seen as a preventative method which activates collagen synthesis and provides a rejuvenating effect.


The advent of telemedicine in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic has meant that people have been able to have online appointments, enabling them to go into surgeries and be seen one patient at a time as ties in with putting patients first practices3. Rhinoplasty – more colloquially known as nose jobs – encompasses augmenting the size, proportions or shape of the nose. The rise in rhinoplasty procedures in 2020 can also be attributed to excessive time spent on Zoom calls, and for people having more time available to them.

Lockdown has been hard for everyone, but with more privacy, fewer social interactions, and holiday time to spare, people were able to reflect on things such as confidence and self-care, and so the pandemic created a novel demand for elective treatments. Celebrities have also become more open about cosmetic surgery in the past year, breaking the stigma surrounding many treatments, and interest in surgery abroad during lockdown has also surged. Along with cheaper flights more people are discovering they can get the same high-quality treatment for a lower price and more privacy away from home.


1.       Dr Doft – You, only better

2.       Arcadia Wellness Center

3.       Rhinoplasty London: How has Covid-19 affected rhinoplasty surgery?