Weight loss may influence plastic surgery rates

1 June 2015

New figures, released by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), suggest that losing a great amount of weight could increase a person's likelihood of having plastic surgery.

The data found that an increase in weight loss surgeries was having a ripple effect on the number of people undergoing plastic surgery. According to the new research, procedures specifically associated with massive weight loss, such as tummy tucks, thigh lifts, breast lifts and upper arm lifts, grew at their fastest rate in four years in 2014.

It found that this increase in weight loss-associated plastic surgery procedures followed a similar growth in the number of weight loss surgeries.

"We think there is a correlation between the two types of procedures, and we expect that trend to continue," said ASPS president and plastic surgeon Dr Scot Glasberg. "Post-massive weight loss patients are the number one growth area I have seen in my practice, and I'm sure that's the case in many doctor's offices across the country."

In 2013, 179,000 people in the US had weight loss surgery, averaging nearly 500 procedures every day. According to the American Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, this is the highest number since 2009 and the third highest on record. Since then, plastic surgeries related to weight loss have also grown.

The study found that thigh and upper arm lifts have seen the biggest single-year increase for five years in 2014, which both increased by nine per cent. Tummy tucks grew by four per cent and breast lift procedures recorded a ten per cent increase.

Dr Glasberg said it is the excess skin that many weight loss patients are left with that is causing them to go to plastic surgeons to have the body they want.

Dr Jason Lichten, a plastic surgeon from Ohio, said patients often have the "psychological burden" of seeing all their excess skin and no matter how much weight they lose they will always see themselves as heavy.

In 2014, nearly 45,000 patients who experienced massive weight loss also chose to have plastic surgery to reshape their bodies. Although this marks a significant increase, it is thought that many more patients could benefit from it.

While those numbers represent the biggest single-year increase in nearly a half decade, it's still only a fraction of patients who may require the procedure.

"Going forward, we'd like to be a part of the process from the outset, when patients are first starting to consider weight loss surgery," said Dr Glasberg. "A lot of times patients think weight loss surgery is the answer to their issues, when in reality it may only be one step in the process."

Posted by Edward Bartel

Health News is provided by Adfero in collaboration with Spire Healthcare. Please note that all copy above is ©Adfero Ltd. and does not reflect views or opinions of Spire Healthcare unless explicitly stated. Additional comments on the page from individual Spire consultants do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of other consultants or Spire Healthcare.

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