Does recent rise in cosmetic surgery figures point to the end of non-surgical 'quick fixes'?

The recent economic crisis impacted the numbers of men and women undergoing cosmetic surgery, but things are looking up if the figures just released by the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (BAAPS) are any indication. In 2015 a record-breaking number of Britons underwent surgery – 51,000 cosmetic surgery ops, a growth of 13 per cent overall on 2014, with every single procedure showing growth.2016 cosmetic surgery figures BAAPS

Improvement in the economy is obviously one reason behind the rise but the marked increase in particular procedures such as face and neck lifts (up 16 per cent) and liposuction (up 20 per cent) could mean that the public are turning away from the many non-surgical devices and treatments that promise everything but are only able to deliver a degree of improvement.

The facelift versus the non-surgical facelift

If you search for a ‘non-surgical facelift’ on the Internet there are a proliferation of clinics and practitioners offering this procedure but it doesn’t actually exist and is typically a combination of different aesthetic treatments that can each individually offer a degree of facial rejuvenation.

Devices that employ energy of some form, such as radiofrequency or ultrasound, to ‘heat’ up the dermis, claim to be able to tighten and lift skin, as well as stimulate collagen production, but studies into their efficacy show that they are best suited to relatively mild skin sagging and are not always effective for all patients.

Volume replacement, in the form of dermal fillers or fat transfer, are often a component in a non-surgical facelift and remain highly effective treatments for restoring facial volume in the mid-face area, also producing a small degree of lift. Again, these will not improve marked skin laxity, but they can be combined with a conventional facelift to restore more youthful contours.

Although laser skin resurfacing is another popular non-surgical procedure, it has a long downtime (recovery rate) and I prefer to rejuvenate and revitalise skin with the Obagi range of products (Nuderm) – in which I have no vested interest – and where appropriate to offer an Obagi Blue Peel. In this, Trichloracetic acid (TCA) is used in a known strength with a blue dye, treating the whole of the face area with the exception of the upper eyelids. This allows precision facial peeling and the downtime is only about 3 weeks instead of 3 months, providing equally good, if not superior results to laser treatment.

For men and women with a marked degree of skin laxity on the face, a conventional facelift, extending to lift the neck as well where indicated (face-necklift) is the only procedure that offers the necessary lifting of the facial tissues and a longevity to the results for the investment you have made. For those that aren’t yet ready to go under the knife, then non-surgical procedures can provide an overall facial rejuvenation, but it is important that you fully understand their limitations. If you want expert, impartial advice on whether you require facelift surgery, then call 01926 436341 to book a consultation.

The problem with weight loss surgery

Obesity is a serious concern in the UK and it’s predicted by the Government Office for Science’s Foresight that nine in ten adults will be either overweight or obese by 2050, without some form of intervention. The growing call for a sugar tax by health officials and MPs is a reflection of that need for decisive action.

post weight loss surgery LeamingtonAnother growth market as such has been bariatric surgery, commonly known as weight loss surgery. Figures from the NHS show that publicly-funded procedures, from gastric bypasses to banding, is rising year on year with increasing numbers of men resorting to surgical intervention in the bid to lose weight.

However, losing the weight is only part of the journey as this recent story in the Daily Mail revealed. James Jordan shed a third of his body weight after undergoing a gastric bypass when the scales hit 30 stone, but he has been left with two stone of excess skin.

Why weight loss surgery isn’t always the solution

The skin contains two proteins important for its condition and structure – collagen provides strength and elastin is the substance that retracts the skin after it is pulled and stretched. Levels of these proteins deplete as you age, but extreme weight gain can also have an incredibly damaging impact on them, meaning that the skin cannot retract sufficiently once the underlying fat tissue has shrunk.

A common theme for patients after weight loss surgery is that the excess skin often leaves them as depressed and unhappy as they were with their previous appearance. In fact, James commented to the Daily Mail that the excess skin “is really frustrating – the skin is a constant reminder and it almost feels like I’m still the same size.”

There can also be health considerations of excess skin; infections can proliferate in the folds, it can be tiring or physically painful to carry the weight round, prohibits what you can wear and it can obstruct ease of movement.

NICE, the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence, recommends bariatric surgery as an effective treatment for obesity, meaning that the NHS will fund these procedures once certain recommendations are followed, but body reshaping surgery such as a tummy tuck or an arm reduction are now far less readibly accessible on the NHS. Patients are often left with the option of having to live with the excess skin or undergo surgery privately.

Which body contouring procedures may I need after extreme weight loss?

A common problem area is the abdomen and a tummy tuck is a very popular procedure for those who have undergone weight loss surgery previously. An incision is made just above the pubic bone, stretching from hip to hip, and excess skin can be removed and the stomach muscles tightened. I will often combine a tummy tuck with a trunk reduction, extending the incision around the back, as this greatly improves the appearance of the torso.

Women often require a breast lift after losing large amounts of weight and this can be combined with a tummy tuck or trunk reduction in the same procedure as long as you are assessed as fit and well enough for surgery. Other procedures include arm reductions, thigh lifts and even buttock lifts. If you have any further questions about which body contouring procedures may be most appropriate for you, please call 01926 436341 to book a consultation at my Leamington cosmetic surgery clinic.