If you’re not happy with your body, your nose has always bugged you or those wrinkles are making you sad, join the club.
By CECILE S. HOLMES
Plastic surgery is on the rise across the nation and in North Carolina. From tummy tucks to Botox to liposuction, even men and women are getting in line to achieve the face or body of their dreams.
"It is often said that the rise of cosmetic surgery will reflect an improvement in our country's financial health. If the recent increase in elective procedures is a good economic indicator, that bodes well for our economy,” says Dr. W. Glenn Lyle, past President of the North Carolina Society of Plastic Surgeons. People want to look younger and healthier. Many are finding that their efforts in the gym and with dieting are not enough to improve their appearance and desire changes that only can be achieved with surgery."
While men still fall behind women in the number of cosmetic procedures and plastic surgeries performed nationwide, plastic or cosmetic surgery for men is much more common now than it was just a few years ago. Men may enter the plastic surgery arena at the encouragement of their significant others or while they are undergoing a difficult life transition such as a divorce.
Men are now requesting a variety of cosmetic procedures. In the U.S. in 2012, men numbered nine percent of all cosmetic procedures. That’s a 121 percent increase over 1997.
Topping the list in popularity of cosmetic procedures for men, according to one medical source, are liposuction, rhinoplasty (nose jobs), eyelid surgery, gynecomastia (the removal of excess breast tissue) and ear reshaping.
“We are seeing an increase in older men who are trying to remain competitive in the job market,” says Dr. Lyle. “Many choose non-surgical means such as Botox and skin resurfacing, as well as surgical procedures such as eyelid surgery, liposuction and male breast reduction. I even see higher numbers of younger men seeking procedures as it seems the stigma of having plastic surgery is not what it used to be."
In a sense, the goals are different when it comes to rejuvenation. Physicians are seeking to help patients gain confidence and look younger and refreshed. Especially with men, plastic surgeons strive for subtlety and for keeping the results natural looking.
Once middle-aged men went to plastic surgeons seeking liposuction to get rid of the paunch or spare tire they’d put on over the years. Nowadays, however, young men come in for more high definition liposuction, the kind of body sculpting that lends itself to an abdominal six-pack.
As patients’ desires and demands change, plastic surgeons are keeping up. Ragan Communications and PR Daily, producers of the ACE awards (Awarding Communication Excellence), has named The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) winner of the 2013 award for its effort in changing perceptions of the plastic surgery industry using social media. The ACE Award honors individuals, agencies and in-house teams who have used communication to overcome obstacles.
The society even created its own special guide for consumers looking for “accurate, unbiased information” on various aspects of plastic surgery. (The information is accessible by typing Smart Beauty Guide into a browser, tablet or smart phone.)
The service took two years to develop. Aesthetic surgeons created it to serve as the consumer face of the society for their patients. Smart Beauty Guide showcases basic medical information from plastic surgeons, in addition to tool kits, product giveaways, and well known bloggers offering their take on plastic surgery. It also provides question-and-answer snippets on various procedures and details on new trends in plastic surgery.
“Our new Smart Beauty Guide demonstrates not only our commitment to providing consumers with a real and unbiased source of knowledge but also goes a long way to ensure that everyone has the information they need to make informed and safe decisions,” Dr. Jack Fisher, the society’s president, says on the group’s website (www.surgery.org).
“There have been several recent trends in plastic surgery in North Carolina,” explains Dr. Lyle. One is the "mommy makeover" for women whose bodies have suffered the natural consequences of pregnancies (sagging breasts and loose tummies), seek combined surgery to lift or enhance the breast while they undergo abdominoplasty.
“It is a more extensive surgery, but can be done safely as an outpatient and you just have one recovery period,” he said. “Many feel that if they have to recover from one surgery―why not kill two birds with one stone.”
Another trend is the use of your own fat, harvested from liposuction to enhance other areas. The so-called "Brazilian Butt lift" involves liposuctioning the waist, thighs and abdomen and transferring the fat to the buttocks to improve its shape and volume. “This has been popular outside of the US and is now gaining momentum in our country," he shared.
According to Dr. Lyle, the vast majority of Board Certified plastic surgeons also serve the community by performing reconstructive surgery such as skin cancer surgery, wound repair and particularly breast reconstruction. "To me, this is one of the most rewarding procedures. To restore a woman's breasts after the devastating loss due to cancer constantly reminds me of why I went into medicine―to help people."
Choose a Surgeon You Can Trust
Plastic surgery involves many choices. The first and most important is selecting a surgeon you can trust. Choosing an ASPS Member Surgeon ensures that you have selected a physician who:
- Has completed at least five years of surgical training with a minimum of two years in plastic surgery.
- Is trained and experienced in all plastic surgery procedures, including breast, body, face and reconstruction.
- Operates only in accredited medical facilities.
- Adheres to a strict code of ethics.
- Fulfills continuing medical education requirements, including standards and innovations in patient safety.
- Is board certified by The American Board of Plastic Surgery or in Canada by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.
Courtesy American Society of Plastic Surgeons
The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery urges patients ask themselves three questions before submitting to plastic surgery. (www.surgery.org)
Is this really what I want? Unless you're getting reconstructive or reparative plastic surgery, you're likely considering a cosmetic procedure. Thousands of people book aesthetic surgeries every year, but before you join their ranks, make sure you actually want the procedure. If you feel like you're being pushed into the decision to get a breast augmentation or tummy tuck by a significant other, family member or friend, it's time to pump the brakes. Though you can certainly ask your loved ones for their input, the decision to go under the knife should be yours and yours alone.
Have I considered all of my options? It's not uncommon for patients to get their hearts set on a certain procedure, but sometimes, there may be plastic surgeries that you aren't aware of that could better help you achieve your goals. For example, you may come to your cosmetic surgeon saying you want a tummy tuck to help you lose weight, not realizing that tummy tucks are actually about tightening skin, not shedding unwanted pounds (although liposuction may be a good alternative.)
Have I found a qualified plastic surgeon? Imagine you're on your way to the emergency room with a broken arm. As you get out of the ambulance, someone approaches you and says they can fix your broken arm for a much better price if you'll go back to their office. Most people would say, "No way!" That's exactly how you should react to individuals who try to offer you discount plastic surgery. Before you agree to go under the knife, you must have evidence of your cosmetic surgeon's training and board certification. Don't be afraid to ask about it during your consultation - if your doctor is qualified, he or she will have no issue showing you proof. Should an aesthetic surgeon refuse to answer your inquiries, it's time to move on to a more qualified individual.
The Price of Beauty
The following average prices are from the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. National average for physician/surgeon fees per procedure.
Abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) $5,419
Blepharoplasty (cosmetic eyelid surgery) $3,205
Breast Augmentation, silicone-gel implants $3,918
Breast Augmentation, saline implants $3,535
Breast Lift $4280
Breast Reduction (women) $5272
Buttock Lift $4,820
Chin Augmentation $2,480
Forehead Lift $3,358
Lower-body Lift $8,085
Otoplasty (cosmetic ear surgery) $3,205
Rhinoplasty (nose reshaping) $4,436
Thigh Lift $4,933
Upper-arm Lift $4,055
Botulinum Toxin Type A (Botox, Dysport) $326
Calcium Hydroxylapatite (Radeisse) $634
Hyaluronic Acid (including Prevelle, Belotero, Juvederm, Perlane/Restylane, Elevess) $550
Poly-L-Latic Acid (Sculptra) $941
Chemical Peel $560
Fractional Resurfacing, ablative $1,948
Fractional Resurfacing, nonablative $1,161
Laser Skin Resurfacing, ablative $2,349
Laser Skin Resurfacing, nonablative $1,357
Nonsurgical Skin Tightening $1,563
Other new products: Liposonix average starts at $1,103. LaViv is $2,250 for the cells to be taken and grown and then $1,000 for the injections (three times, bringing the cost of the injections to $3,000).