Tajmeeli releases original data about growing cosmetic surgery market in the Arab World (2024)

Tajmeeli recently completed our first survey on cosmetic and plastic surgery in the Middle East. In 2018 Tajmeeli had 5.6 million Arabic speakers interested in cosmetic procedures visit Tajmeeli.com and many of the most interested users submitted inquires about having a cosmetic procedure. Based on aggregated data from real user inquiries we put together some interesting statistics about what Arabic speakers are interested in regards to having a cosmetic procedure. The results identified which procedures are in demand and where, and revealed some of the factors driving growth in cosmetic surgery in the Arab world. These are our findings.

Tajmeeli releases original data about growing cosmetic surgery market in the Arab World (1)

Hair transplants are the most requested procedure

Turkey has long been known as a destination for hair transplants, and the procedure remains popular throughout the region. Hair is clearly important, with beard transplants making it into the top eight, at number 8.

Going bald is traumatic and can happen at a much younger age than expected. Hair transplants mean this doesn’t need to be a permanent condition. The popularity of the procedure was highlighted in a recent report naming Turkey as the top destination for hair transplants in Europe, and third in the world. Hair transplant techniques have advanced and are now less invasive, making the procedure less painful and more affordable.

Rhinoplasty and liposuction were the second and third most popular procedures.

According to the International Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons, rhinoplasty was the eighth most performed procedure worldwide in 2017. In the Arab world rhinoplasty is near the top of the cosmetic surgery list.

The popularity of liposuction, stomach sleeve surgery (fourth) and tummy tucks (eighth) shows an increasing need to look slimmer and reduce body fat. As obesity increases there is more interest in procedures that reduce fat and remove excess skin after weight loss. The obesity problem in the Middle East has been described as shocking and Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates have been listed as three of the top ten obese countries in the world, so the popularity of these surgeries looks set to continue.

The popularity of dental implants, the fifth most requested procedure in the Middle East, may in part reflect the influence of social media where there could be peer pressure to show a smile with bright, white, straight teeth in photos. Dental implants don’t only have aesthetic qualities, they are easier to clean than a dental bridge.

Three times more requests for procedures from Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia is the biggest kingdom in the region with a high annual income per person so it wasn’t surprising to find there are nearly three times more requests for plastic surgery here than in other Arab nations.

Last year the kingdom hosted the first Saudi Symposium for Cosmetic Surgery and Restoration and Dr Fuad Hashim, Consultant, Plastic Surgery, President of the World Society of Plastic Surgery in the Kingdom and Chairman of Scientific Committee, is reported as saying in the Saudi Gazette: “The Kingdom has been proactive in complex cosmetic medicine.” The publication also noted that the Saudi market has witnessed “a strong blossom of beauty clinics and hospitals.”

The rise in incomes over the past two decades has meant many more are able to pay for these procedures. Incomes in KSA rose by 87% between 2004 and 2017, according to World Bank data.

Tajmeeli releases original data about growing cosmetic surgery market in the Arab World (2)

Egypt, the most populous Arab country has the second highest demand for procedures. “The most sought-after surgeries are face surgery, breast augmentation and tummy tucks. Face surgery is number one. Many also seek what we call minimally invasive procedures, such as Botox and fillers; basically, rejuvenation of the face,” said plastic surgeon Dr Karim W Rafla on Egypt today.

UAE ranked third and has actively promoted medical tourism. Many well known doctors such as those from the television reality show Dr 90210 have opened practices in Dubai and spend part of their time consulting in the region.

The survey results show some correlation between income, population size and number of requested procedures, with highly populated countries having higher numbers of requests. Saudi Arabia, with a population of around 33 million sits at the top, and although Egypt’s population is around three times larger at around 100 million, the annual income per person in Egypt is $2,412 compared to $20,849 in KSA. Morocco sits in fourth place, with a much lower average annual income of $3,007, but the population of over 35 million creates a demand. Germany makes the list because of the numbers of Arabs living in the country.

The wealth effect has made surgery more affordable and the increase in the number of centres has made it more accessible. The influence of social media stars like the Kardashians and Arab celebrities including Huda Kattan and Joelle Mardinian, who have 32 million and 9.5 million Instagram followers respectively have made cosmetic surgery more normal and desirable.

Top cities

In keeping with the results above, four of the top ten cities are in Saudi Arabia and two are in the UAE. Saudi Arabia has been listed as one of the top 25 places for plastic surgery in the world and Dubai was named the Middle East’s plastic surgery hub, with a reported 236 licenced plastic surgeons, 386 licenced dermatologists and 277 facilities in 2018.

Cairo in Egypt, Amman in Jordan and Muscat, Oman also feature in the Gulf’s top cities for plastic surgery.

Tajmeeli releases original data about growing cosmetic surgery market in the Arab World (3)

Least popular procedures

We found that Arabs are quite selective in the surgery they are requesting and some procedures are not popular. These include the removal of bunions and varicose veins in the hands, young blood treatment and hormone therapy.

There’s no evidence to suggest conditions like bunions have lessened over time, but there could be a lack of awareness of the newer procedures such as young blood treatment. This procedure involves transfusing the blood of a younger person into an older person, with the aim of looking younger.

These procedures are associated with aging, and while many plastic surgery taboos no longer exist, the demand for plastic surgery in Gulf countries is primarily from the younger generation, confirmed in our survey and a study on plastic surgery in Saudi Arabia.

There is also a definite tangible benefit associated with the most requested procedures – rhinoplasty will change the appearance of the nose - treatments like young blood and hormone therapy aren’t outward actual physical adjustments.

Tajmeeli releases original data about growing cosmetic surgery market in the Arab World (4)

Newest treatments gaining popularity

We were very interested to see what new treatments are becoming popular, and while some solved common problems, there were a few new, potentially controversial ones on the list.

Our survey showed that the face is a key area people want to improve with the Hollywood smile – white, straight teeth - gaining popularity, along with gum depigmentation that restores gums to a healthy pink colour.

Vampire facials, made famous by Kim Kardashian, involve applying platelet plasma rich (PRP) blood (which you can sometimes donate yourself) to your face that has been gently pricked with a small needle (microneedling). The idea is that that your face will rejuvenate and heal.

Tajmeeli releases original data about growing cosmetic surgery market in the Arab World (5)

Less controversial is the stomach balloon – a new gastric weight-loss procedure usually performed on an outpatient basis through endoscopic surgery. The balloon can be removed, and the surgery is less invasive than other bariatric surgeries.

Eye colour change surgery is a permanent solution if you are unhappy with your eye colour. It means no more colour contacts and is a fairly new procedure. Morocco was home to the first eye colour change operation in Africa last year when brown eyes were changed to blue.

Mobile is the preferred contact method

Contact by phone is only slightly more popular than contact by Whatsapp, showing that Arabs in the Gulf are using mobile devices for contacts, information and research. Mobile is the preferred contact method for the youth, and this result ties in with observation that the younger generation is driving the growing interest in plastic surgery and cosmetic procedures.

Tajmeeli releases original data about growing cosmetic surgery market in the Arab World (6)

Travel is on the cards, so is having treatment locally

We asked survey participants if they were prepared to or are planning to travel for cosmetic procedures. The yes and no’s were fairly evenly split, indicating many are happy with the facilities in their areas, but are also equally prepared to travel.

Cost and locally available procedures can influence the decision to travel.

Although incomes have risen in the region, plastic surgery is not cheap and when the cost of a procedure, care and travel are cheaper than having the procedure locally it makes economic sense to travel. Another factor we consider relevant is that because procedures weren’t always as widely available in the region, travel for cosmetic surgery was fairly common.

So while many prefer to have procedures locally, many will travel and regard it as normal to do so.

These results also reflect the trend that plastic surgery is coming to the people, rather than the people having to travel for surgery and surgeons are finding enough demand to justify the costs of setting up a centre or taking consulting rooms in different cities.

Travel destinations

These findings may surprise some because they showed that the places where procedures are most in demand locally, Saudi Arabia and UAE, didn’t feature as top cosmetic surgery travel destinations in the Arab world. Only 4.2 percent of respondents were prepared to travel to the UAE.

Turkey remains a top destination, and competes with many international destinations on price. A 2017 report found that 5,000 medical tourists fly to the country each month for hair transplants.

Egypt is the second most popular destination for several reasons – numerous procedures are offered by good surgeons at a low cost, and it is a much-visited holiday destination so travel to the country is commonplace.

Are you interested in having a procedure

We wanted to double check that interest in plastic surgery is growing and asked participants about their level of interest. Some had already planned to have a procedure in a short time frame, and some were planning something in the next six months.

Tajmeeli releases original data about growing cosmetic surgery market in the Arab World (7)

Our survey found a lot more women were interested than men, but many of the procedures in demand deal with male issues. Globally 92 percent of procedures are for women, but in the Arab world there seems to be a more even split between men and women undergoing procedures.

Younger people driving growth

70% of those interested in cosmetic procedures are aged 18 to 34, one of the clearest indicators that the youth are driving growth in the industry. This could be healthy for the industry if they retain their interest over the years, and we could see more demand for anti-aging procedures as this generation grows older. We need to take into account that the youth (under 30) make up nearly two thirds of the total population in some Gulf countries, so they will have a huge impact on surveys like this one.

Tajmeeli releases original data about growing cosmetic surgery market in the Arab World (8)

Look good, feel good

The growing interest in plastic surgery was clear from the many responses we received. People, in particular young people, want to look good and are comfortable undergoing surgery to achieve the results they are looking for. In part this has been driven by rising incomes and social media trends, but it’s also about feeling good and confident in your appearance. The survey shows that plastic surgery in the Arab world is more about looking good today than anti-aging treatments. Plastic surgery has become more normal, and is no longer the exception, and rising incomes, awareness and availability are increasing demand for procedures.

See the full infographic of data we collected below:

Tajmeeli releases original data about growing cosmetic surgery market in the Arab World (9)

Data from this article and the infographics contained in it were compiled by IstiZada our sister company that specializes in Arabic SEO and Dubai SEO.

Tajmeeli releases original data about growing cosmetic surgery market in the Arab World (2024)


What is the history of plastic surgery in Egypt? ›

In Egypt plastic surgery was used on corpses for the afterlife. Mourners of an Ancient Egyptian King, called Ramses II who had a large and long nose, surgically inserted bone and seeds into his nose to make sure he was recognised and received as a king in the afterlife.

What country has the highest plastic surgery rate? ›

South Korea is the country with the highest percentage of plastic surgeries in the world, and this is followed by Greece and Italy. The United States falls below the fifth rank of plastic surgery by country according to the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons.

Is out of 816 completed questionnaires 48.5% reported being influenced by social media to consider undergoing cosmetic procedures? ›

Out of 816 completed questionnaires, 48.5% reported being influenced by social media to consider undergoing cosmetic procedures. Respondents (51.4%) follow plastic surgeons on social media (P < 0.001). The most common reported number of hours of social media use per day was >5 hours per day (53.2%; P < 0.026).

Who is the target market for cosmetic surgery? ›

Though the most common age group to go under the knife is the cohort between 40 and 54 years of age, 6 with Caucasian females making up the bulk of patients, there are cosmetic surgery patients in every age bracket that make up every ethnicity.

Did Egyptians invent surgery when? ›

Imhotep in the 3rd dynasty of the old kingdom is credited as the original author of the papyrus text and founder of ancient Egyptian medicine. It also showcases the earliest known form of surgery was performed in Egypt around 2750 BC.

Did Egyptians create surgery? ›

The Egyptians have left us with some of the earliest 'hard' evidence of surgical techniques, tools and reasoning. Many ideas remain true to this day. Whilst the Egyptians did not perform major surgery as conducted today, they did make major developments in surgical knowledge and practice.

What is the safest country to get plastic surgery in? ›

Presently, India, Mexico, Thailand, South Korea, and Turkey are the best countries for plastic surgery worldwide. Let us understand why people choose these over others when it comes to going under the knife!

Which country has the best plastic surgeons? ›

South Korea:

South Koreans have more plastic surgery procedures per capita than any other country. As a result, South Korea's plastic surgeons are highly experienced and are known for achieving exceptional results. However, the price of a nose job in South Korea usually ranges between $4,000 and $6,000.

Which country has free plastic surgery? ›

To many Brazilians, beauty is a right that should not be reserved solely for moneyed elites, prompting more than 200 clinics across Brazil to offer free cosmetic procedures to the less fortunate.

Which social media platform is reported to be used most frequently? ›

Facebook remains the world's most widely used social media platform, but there are now seven social media platforms that each claim one billion or more monthly active users. Four of these seven platforms are owned by Meta.

What age group is most likely to be affected by social media? ›

In a study published in Nature Communications, UK data shows, girls experience a negative link between social media use and life satisfaction when they are 11-13 years old and boys when they are 14-15 years old. Increased social media use also predicts lower life satisfaction at age 19 years.

Who gets affected more by social media? ›

Anxiety, sleep disorders, depression, and eating disorders (ED). According to a recent study, social media affects the mental health of girls to a greater extent than boys.

Who are the biggest markets for cosmetics? ›

Market size of beauty & personal care in 20 countries worldwide 2022. From the selected regions, the ranking by revenue in the beauty & personal care market is led by the United States with 87.1 billion U.S. dollars and is followed by China (55.3 billion U.S. dollars).

What are the top 5 most popular cosmetic surgeries? ›

The 10 Most Common Plastic Surgery Procedures
  • Liposuction.
  • Breast Augmentation.
  • Blepharoplasty.
  • Abdominoplasty.
  • Mammaplasty.
  • Rhinoplasty.
  • Rhytidectomy.
  • Mastopexy.
Apr 6, 2023

Who has the largest market for cosmetics? ›

China, the US, Japan, Germany, and South Korea are the top five countries in the retail cosmetics and toiletries segment globally in 2021. The combined contribution by the top 5 countries accounts for a 60% share of the global market size of the retail cosmetics and toiletries segment in 2021.

What is the history of surgery in ancient Egypt? ›

Surgery. The oldest metal (Bronze or copper) surgical tools in the world were discovered in the tomb of Qar. Surgery was a common practice among physicians as treatment for physical injuries. The Egyptian physicians recognized three categories of injuries; treatable, contestable, and untreatable ailments.

What did ancient Egyptians use for surgery? ›

Surgery was evidently advanced in Egypt at the end of the dynastic era as shown by the elaborate surgical instruments engraved in a panel in Kom Ombo Temple in 180–47 BC. Knives, a drill, a saw, hooks, forceps and shears can be recognised (Fig. 11).

What is the history of plastic surgery? ›

2000 B.C.: The first written evidence of humans using medical treatments to treat facial and skin injuries. 800 B.C.: Reconstructive work and skin grafts are used in Ancient India. 1460 (A.D.): The first known medical text for plastic surgery procedures is created; a precursor to the “nose job.”

What is the story behind plastic surgery? ›

The profession dates back to approximately 800 BC in India where forehead flaps were utilized to reconstruct amputated noses. The ancient Egyptians and Romans also performed plastic surgery to restore defects in ears/lips and enhance the appearance of the skin.


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