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Dr. Dean Kane Weighs in on the Article “America’s fastest-growing plastic surgery procedure takes place below the belt”

Published: Apr 20, 2018 9:25 a.m. ET



DK (Dean Kane, MD):  A lot of truth and a bunch of fiction. I find that today’s patients have 3 reasons for elective plastic surgery:

  1. Personal; to feel better about themselves and therefore improve their self-esteem.
  2. Boardroom; competition is fierce in the business environment and looking your best is sometimes more important than to have a better qualified skill for many corporate opportunities.
  3. Bedroom; not dissimilarly, we wish to feel and sometimes perform better in this competitive arena as well.

The following accounting of a “nations – eye – view” is not quite what we see in our practice. I will editorialize the findings of our practice following each area of cosmetic care.

Chin implants are out, but eyelid lifts are in — the changing face of America’s $6.5 billion plastic surgery habit.

Men accounted for 7.7% of cosmetic surgeries in 2017, and liposuction was the most popular procedure.

Americans apparently don’t like what they see when they look in the mirror, and they’re keeping plastic surgeons busier than ever. Cosmetic surgery procedures jumped 11% in 2017, and patients shelled out more than $6.5 billion to combat drooping eyelids, sagging derrieres, plump thighs and other perceived imperfections, according to new data from the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, a trade organization.

Some of the procedures that saw the biggest surges in popularity in 2017 were eyelid surgery, buttock augmentation, fat transfer to the face, facelifts, and neck lifts and upper arm lifts. Meanwhile, others have become less popular. Chin augmentation has dropped 10% since 2012, as doctors say patients request fillers as an alternative, and nose jobs have fallen 43% since 2000.

But there were some blockbuster procedures last year:

DK: No doubt, fat is in (and out)! The use of lipocontouring and harvesting the fat to reduce the redundant areas and augment the aging regions is represent the greatest change in plastic surgery during the last several years. Slimming your waist and thighs and adding “abs” etching whilefat grafting the face, breasts and buttocks are the single most performed and useful procedures we do. Note this includes the face, the breasts and the booty!

Women are focusing on a below-the-belt area

The procedure that saw the biggest jump in popularity between 2012 and 2017 isn’t for the faint of heart. Labiaplasty, which involves altering women’s nether regions, soared 217%, more than any other procedure by far. (The second biggest increase over that same period was for buttock lifts, which shot up 98%.)

The reason? “Women are seeing more of their anatomy because they don’t have hair blocking their anatomy,” Stevens said. The average cost for the procedure was $2,720 last year.

DK: Non-surgical vaginal and labial rejuvenation is now in the minds of an older population withless-functioning but personally desirous age-defying generation. The use of ThermiVA, a radio-frequency, delicate method to tighten, create greater lubrication and sensation is performed by our nurses in our MediSpa and increasing in numbers.

The facelift is alive and well

Though the rise in popularity of Botox and other injectable treatments to smooth wrinkles can make the old-fashioned facelift seem passé, they’re anything but. The procedure jumped by 21.9% in 2017. “The facelift is not dead,” said Stevens, who’s been a cosmetic surgeon since 1986. “I’m doing more facelifts now than ever in my life. It’s more accepted in society for both men and women.” It’s not cheap — the average cost in 2017 was $7,562.

DK: There is a big jump in face, neck, eyelid and browlifting as the “baby-boomers” age into their leisure years. Combine this with additional discretionary income, an added zest in sharing relationships and we’re looking at a return to the “gold-standard of physical facelifting anti-aging. Younger patients are looking into face-lifting as well but the new technologies of non-invasive and minimally invasive procedures such as Obagi ZO Skin Health and peels, ThermiTight and Silhouette Insta (face, brow and neck) Lifts are fulfilling their intermediate needs.

Men are getting nipped and tucked too

Men accounted for 7.7% of cosmetic surgeries in 2017. Their top five surgical procedures were liposuction (average cost $3,279), eyelid surgery ($3,239), breast reduction ($3,779), tummy tucks ($6,083) and facelifts ($7,562).

Breast implants are coming out, but not for the reason you think

Breast implant removals were up slightly (3.7%) in 2017. Most of those patients (67%) are taking out their implants so they could replace them with new ones, a spokeswoman for ASAPS said. Among those patients, 36% got bigger implants, and 23% replaced them with smaller ones. Removals cost an average of $2,745.

“Breast reductions are consistently reported as one of the highest patient satisfaction procedures because it positively affects a woman’s quality of life. It addresses both functional and aesthetic concerns,” said ASPS president Jeffrey E. Janis. Breast reductions are also popular with men, but they pay less for it: $3,779 compared to $5,634 for women.

DK: We are experiencing a bump in all male and female breast procedures! The female breast augmentations of the prior generation are causing neck and back strain; implant removal or size reduction with a breast lift are in, in, in!  Male and female breast reductions performed with liposuction, CoolSculpting and surgery are surging.

DK: After 50 years of gel implants and 30 years of saline implants for breast augmentation, a combination implant with the virtues of softness of a gel and “safety” of a saline, the FDA has approved the “IDEAL” implant. It contains a silicone shell like the others but internally baffled to keep it from sloshing like a saline implant.

What’s driving the boom in nips and tuck?

Some say it’s a constant need to be selfie-ready, and others have even blamed Skype for making people more appearance-conscious. Another factor: age discrimination in the workplace. “They don’t want to look older because they wear their resume on their face,” said Dr. Grant Stevens, a board certified plastic surgeon in Marina Del Rey, Calif. and president-elect of the ASAPS

Though it’s commonplace in celebrity-driven magazines and TV shows, plastic surgery is still relatively rare among the population at large: Only 4% of Americans say they’ve done it, according to a 2016 study by the Pew Research Center, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank.

DK: The spectrum of options to fit your needs and your budget continue to expand. Please select a well qualified, skilled and talented Board Certified Plastic Surgeon to evaluate your desires and make a plan fit for you!

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