A total of €97,792 was spent on facelift and browlift surgeries for 31 patients in public hospitals last year.
That’s a 50% increase since 2015 in the number of patients undergoing the procedures.
A total of 227 facelifts and browlifts have been performed in state-run hospitals since 2009, at a cost of €795,269, according to Freedom of Information Act records.
Facelifts involve the removal of excess skin from the patient’s face, before the remaining tissue is tightened. This removes wrinkles and create a more youthful appearance. A browlift is a similar operation and eliminates ‘worry lines’ and wrinkles from a patient’s forehead. Facial muscles responsible for a drop in the brow position are removed.
Of the €97,792, it is not known how much was funded directly by the HSE, recouped from health insurers, or financed by other means.
In 2015, facelifts and browlift surgeries, at a cost of €70,622, were performed on 20 patients in public hospitals, while 26 patients underwent the procedures in 2014, at a cost of €96,678.
The operations are often performed in conjunction with related surgeries on the eyes or lips. A further €683,737 was spent on eyelid and lip excision, for 347 patients, during the same period.
The HSE did not comment, but has previously stated that procedures such as facelifts and browlifts are performed following clinical diagnosis by a medical consultant and not merely at the request of a patient.
“Procedures paid for under the medical card scheme relate to plastic rather than ‘cosmetic’ surgery.
“In the case of public patients, procedures of this nature are carried out for clinical and not for cosmetic reasons, and on the basis of a clinical diagnosis by a medical consultant,” said a spokesperson.
“The HSE provides, and sometimes funds, surgery aimed at correcting disfigurement or restoring function lost as a result of accidents, birth defects, or treatment of disease or, in some cases, due to psychological distress caused by such a condition, which would be diagnosed by a consultant plastic surgeon,” the spokesperson said.
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