In recent years, plastic surgery has slowly been on decline in the United States. However, botox shots and other wrinkle softening beauty treatments are on the rise in Europe. German citizens in particular are taking advantage of advances in cosmetic surgery, according to the Düsseldorf based Gesellschaft für Ästhetische Chirurgie Deutschland (GÄCD).

Studies and polling data show that 171,000 German citizens have undergone cosmetic procedures in the last year, a rise of twenty percent. Comparatively, cosmetic surgery in the United States is down two percent from the previous year. The most substantial increase was seen in the use of wrinkle filling agents such as Botox. Approximately 100,000 patients used botox in 2008, a number which leaped to 146,000 in 2009 according to a survey done by the GÄCD.

GÄCD general secretary Matthias Gensior cites affordability as the primary reason for the rise in botox injections, mentioning that the economic crisis as a potential catalyst. While botox injections are still relatively expensive, they are generally cheaper than more invasive surgeries.

Most female patients sought Botox treatment in order to diminish the appearance of frown lines and crow’s feet. Male patients favoured laser treatments, according to the statistics released by the organisation. In total 130,000 women underwent Botox or needle related treatments, compared to just 14,000 for men. Meanwhile 43,000 men underwent laser surgery to even skin and smooth lines. Women, on the other hand, logged only 38,000 of these treatments. According to the GÄCD, a plurality of patients were new to cosmetic surgery. Moreover, the median age of these patients had also decreased significantly from previous years.

Non-facial related surgeries also remained popular. Liposuction remained a popular treatment for overweight women, with close to 17,000 surgeries performed last year. Corrective rhinoplasty was popular among men, with approximately 3,500 surgeries logged by doctors. Other popular cosmetic surgeries included tattoo removal and eye lifts. According to Gensior, men were far less likely to undergo more drastic surgeries due to the stigma often associated with plastic surgery. Women, he noted, undergo treatment not only for cosmetic reasons but practical ones as well. Droopy eyes, for example, make it difficult to apply make-up.