Massive weight loss patients continue to drive the growth in body contouring

More than 106,000 body contouring procedures were performed in 2004, up 77 percent over the last five years according to statistics released by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

Massive weight loss patients, who accounted for nearly 56,000 procedures, continue to drive the growth in body contouring; however, more patients are choosing these procedures as awareness grows and as plastic surgeons apply improved surgical techniques.

Body contouring procedures include breast (76,000), buttock (3,500), lower body (9,000), thigh (8,000) and upper arm lifts (10,000). There were 43 times more lower body lifts and 30 times more upper arm lifts in 2004 versus 2000. Plastic surgeons are treating increasing numbers of patients with dramatic weight loss, and surgeons are applying these newly developed massive weight loss contouring techniques to other patients interested in improving their body shape.

“There has been an explosion in the demand for body contouring surgery, and I think this can be explained by the rapidly increasing numbers of patients who have dramatic weight loss,” said Scott Spear, MD, ASPS president. “At the same time, this new group of patients has served as a catalyst for surgeons to create surgical techniques that can now be transferred to other patients where there are only average needs from mild weight loss, pregnancy, or aging.”

Although the trend for many cosmetic patients is to turn to less invasive options for facial procedures, plastic surgeons are seeing patients choose invasive procedures when dealing with lower body contouring. Rather than liposuction to contour the lower body, patients are turning to procedures like thigh lifts, up 45 percent in 2004 versus 2003, and lower body lifts, up 72 percent in 2004 versus 2003.

“We have gone from being less invasive to more aggressive for body contouring,” said Jeffrey Kenkel, MD, ASPS/ASAPS Post Bariatric Surgery Task Force Chair. “I know I can get a more dramatic change in the waist with a lower body lift than I can with liposuction alone.”

To ensure plastic surgery procedures are not overstated, the ASPS has refined the methodology for its collection of statistics to offer more accurate, reliable, and realistic data on plastic surgery. Since 2003, statistics have been collected through the first online national database for plastic surgery procedures called Tracking Operations and Outcomes for Plastic Surgeons (TOPS). This data combined with the annual survey sent to more than 17,000 board-certified physicians in specialties most likely to perform plastic surgery results in the most comprehensive census on plastic surgery procedures.

http://www.plasticsurgery.org

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