At Dermletter, we’ve combed through the RealSelf data (the popular Yelp for cosmetic procedures) to create a top 10 list of procedures based on the number of user reviews and their worth-it rating, based on users who had the procedure performed.
*DermLetter has no relationship with RealSelf.com.
Are you thinking about undergoing a cosmetic procedure? Any cosmetic procedure involves serious decisions, and the details like cost, safety, the likely outcomes are all important considerations. With Google on our hands, the information is everywhere, but the challenge is that you don’t necessarily know what you are looking for. If you’ve never done a cosmetic procedure but are confused about where to start your research, this article will get you started.
These are ten popular procedures on RealSelf.com, selected by the number of reviews and “worth-it” ratings. RealSelf.com is the Yelp for cosmetic procedures. Wait, am I taking advice from an aggregate review website? Yes, but the emphasis is on quality.
- The majority of reviews have before and after images.
- Moderators monitor the reviews carefully, and it takes at least 24 hours for posts to be screened.
- Reviews cannot be removed or altered.
Research is critical because the stakes are high. Cosmetic procedures are not only costly but potentially life-changing. Use review sites can help you get started with your research; it is NOT an endpoint. Most importantly, talk to the performing surgeon.
#1. Breast Augmentation
39,300 reviews | Average cost: $6525
Breast augmentation remains the #1 plastic surgery, with over 300,000 procedures performed in the United States alone in 2018.1 These are a broad category of procedures that relate to improving the appearance of the breasts, such as increasing breast size, correcting sagging, or correcting lost volume from age, pregnancy, or weight loss. The most common procedure in this group is breast implantation, where silicone or salines are inserted.
#2. Tummy Tuck (abdominoplasty)
32,300 reviews | Average cost: $8250
A tummy tuck is a procedure where fat and skin are removed from the abdomen area. 130,000 tummy tuck procedures were performed in 2018.2
This procedure is to correct protruding, loose, or sagging in the abdomen area that diet and exercise alone can’t fix. Tummy Tucks are NOT a weight loss procedure. It is to repair abdominal skin caused by aging, pregnancy, or surgery.
Abdominoplasty is a contouring procedure that removes excess skin around the abdomen area. There are several variations of Tummy Tucks and are often combined with other procedures. Typically, excess fat and skin are removed and then pulled to tighten up the abdomen area. It involves cutting the area above or below the belly button area.
#3. Mommy Makeover
15,800 reviews | Average cost: $12,600
Mommy makeover is a broad category of surgical procedures to reduce the changes brought on by pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding. They will be personalized and often involve multiple procedures, so the average cost is high. However, the cost may vary widely depending on the specifics of the procedure.
Stretched skin and separated abdominal tissues, muscles, and fascia are common changes after childbirth, and these changes aren’t reversible with exercise alone.
16,600 reviews | Average cost: $550
Botox and Dysport are the most popular injectable immunomodulators that relax facial muscles by blocking signals from the muscle nerves. Originally used to treat eye spasms, today, it is used to correct lines and wrinkles and stop excessive sweating.
Botulinum toxin has several brands with small differences in use. For ease of use, we’ve put all such products under the most popular category. For more specific brands, check RealSelf.
#5. Breast Lift
4,100 reviews | Average cost: $7975
Breastlifts or mastoplexy is a procedure to raise sagging breasts.
It removes excess tissue and tightens the breast tissue. The procedure may reposition or reduce the areola and may be combined with other procedures.
5,600 reviews | Average cost: $750
Juvederm is a hyaluronic acid filler. They retain water well and help reduce the appearance of wrinkles. Restylane is another popular hyaluronic acid filler with similar properties.
Many other injectable fillers play a similar role.
#7. Rhinoplasty (nosejob)
22,800 reviews | Average cost: $7625
Rhinoplasty is a procedure that alters the size, shape, and structure of the nose. It can be cosmetic, used to correct proportion or correct crookedness, or breathe in some cases.
#8. Brazillian Butt Lift
29,100 reviews | Average cost: $6575
The Brazillian butt lift is a fat transfer procedure. It harvests unwanted body fat from the thighs, back, stomach or sides and injects it into the butt cheeks and hips to create the desired shape.
#9. Intense Pulsed Light
922 reviews | Average cost: $625
Intense pulsed light (IPL) has multiple uses but is most commonly used to treat sun spots, broken capillaries, and other forms of sun damage.
1500 reviews | Average cost: $2625
Ultherapy is an ultrasound therapy to tighten and lift the skin by heating the tissue to stimulate collagen production. It does not involve cutting and is considered a non-invasive procedure.
Why is my procedure so expensive compared to the average cost here?
Several factors influence the price of a cosmetic procedure.
- Large metropolitan cities
- The reputation of the performing surgeon
- Specialized offices for cosmetic procedures
All of these factors may drive up the price. Keep in mind that there are upsides as well.
How do I evaluate the average cost?
It’s the average that reviewers have paid for the procedure.
Remember that these are ballpark estimations. These are all broad categories, so the specific procedure you are interested in may differ from the reviewer.
Pay attention to the number of reviews for a procedure. The higher the number of reviews, the more reliable this average will be. Be mindful of whether the reviewer’s description matches what you are considering. These are broad categories.
As a customer, you will be paying for all of the costs of a business. Remember that the average price is just a guideline, and you may be paying more or less depending on factors that typically influence the price.
- Physician’s reputation
- Specialized cosmetic clinics
What should I look for in a review?
Unlike typical review sites, there aren’t many low-quality reviews to sift through. You will still need to do your due diligence as cosmetic procedures are a serious commitment.
Read the description of the review carefully. These are general categories. A mommy makeover, for example, can refer to one or more procedures. You may be interested in a relatively minor intervention related to this category, while the review you read may be talking about undergoing multiple cosmetic surgeries. Search for a description that is close to what you specifically have in mind.
- Don’t just read the reviews that confirm your bias. Chances are, you want to hear positive feedback about the procedure that you were thinking about, but it’s good to listen to the negative experiences as well.
- Look for patterns. If many people are echoing similar sentiments, it’s more likely to be a feature.
- Read into the tone. Is the poster angry? Did they take the time to write a quality post?
- Break down the category into something more specific. Are you looking at a small and subtle improvement or a significant change?
What’s the next step?
Reading reviews will give you an idea of what the procedure involves. You will also get a preview of the overall sentiment of those who have undergone the procedure. The next step is to get specifics about the procedure, the clinic, and the surgeon.
- Narrow down the specific procedure that you are interested in. Are you interested in undergoing multiple procedures at once?
- Start narrowing down the clinic or surgeon that you would consider and look closely at those reviews.
- Once you’re satisfied, visit the clinic, talk to their staff and the surgeon.