Last year there were 182,680 plastic surgery procedures in Italy, putting the country in eighth place globally, according to figures released by the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (Isaps).
The most popular place for plastic surgery is Brazil, with 1.49 million operations in 2013, pushing the US to second place with 1.45 million.
In Europe, Germany topped the chart, coming fourth place with 343,479 procedures last year, while Spain came in seventh place with 213,297 operations.
Italians’ willingness to go under the knife is due to the population being “very interested in their appearance,” Gianluca Campiglio, a surgeon and Isaps’ national secretary for Italy, told The Local.
“We have a long history of aesthetic medicine and very good training,” he said, although admits the industry was hit by the economic crisis. In response surgeons slashed prices and have been welcoming an increase in patients over the past two years, both men and women.
“The number of male patients has increased recently. Around 70 percent of our patients are female; this is because one of the most common surgeries is breast enlargements.
“If we were to exclude gender-specific surgeries, we would reach a gender balance,” Campiglio said.
In Italy last year the most popular procedure was eyelid surgery, which according to Isaps “rejuvenates the upper and lower eyelids by removing excess fat, skin and muscle.” There were 27,952 eyelid jobs last year, taking around two hours each.
Coming in close second were breast enlargements, with Italy’s 800 plastic surgeons performing 26,520 such surgeries in 2013. Overall breast procedures were the most popular type of surgery in Italy, when taking into account lifts and reductions for both men and women.
Liposuction – using a surgical vacuum to remove unwanted fat – was also popular with 16,328 procedures in Italy last year.
Despite much media attention being given to the hair transplant of Silvio Berlusconi, Italy's three-time prime minister, there were just 1,224 operations of this type in Italy last year.
Italy topped both the US and Brazil for the number of penis enlargements, with 256 registered last year, although the country fell far behind Germany’s 2,786 procedures.