Public Interest in Breast Augmentation: Analysis and Implications of Google Trends Data

S. C. Wilson
D. A. Daar
S. Sinno
S. M. Levine, Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell

Abstract

© 2017, Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature and International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. Introduction: Breast augmentation is the most common aesthetic surgery performed in the United States (US) annually. Analysis of Google Trends (GT) data may give plastic surgeons useful information regarding worldwide, national, and regional interest for breast augmentation and other commonly performed aesthetic surgeries. Methods: Data were collected using GT for breast augmentation and associated search terms from January 2004 to May 2017. Case volume was obtained from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) annual reports for the calendar year 2005–2016. Results: Trend analysis showed that total search term volume for breast augmentation and breast implants gradually decreased worldwide and in the US over the study period while the search term boob job slowly increased. Univariate linear regression demonstrated a statistically significant positive correlation between average annual Google search volume of “breast augmentation” and the annual volume of breast augmentations performed in the US according to ASPS data (R2 = 0.44, p = 0.018). There was no significant correlation between national volume of breast augmentations performed and search volume using the terms “breast implants” or “boob job” over time (p = 0.84 and p = 0.07, respectively). In addition, there appears to be country specific variation in interest based on time of year and peaks in interest following specific policies. Conclusions: To our knowledge, this is the first and only analysis of GT data in the plastic surgery literature to date. To that end, this study highlights this large and potentially powerful data set for plastic surgeons both in the US and around the world. Level of Evidence V: This journal requires that authors assign a level of evidence to each article. For a full description of these Evidence-Based Medicine ratings, please refer to the Table of Contents or the online Instructions to Authors www.springer.com/00266.