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Cosmetic surgery figures falling?

Last month, the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS), of which I am a member, released their 2014 cosmetic surgery figures. Despite a general mood of cautious economic buoyancy nationwide, there was a drop in last year’s numbers compared to the previous year.

These figures are only based on the number of procedures performed by BAAPS members, all of whom have to be NHS-trained, consultant-level surgeons on the GMC’s plastic surgery register. This doesn’t, therefore, take into account the procedures performed by the big cosmetic surgery chains, but the conclusion drawn was that there had been a drop in ‘glamour model-inspired boob jobs and summer body-influenced transformations’, meaning the big chains are likely to have been similarly affected.

The phrase ‘tweaked not tucked’ was coined to describe the move towards more understated aesthetic procedures. Although I have seen no drop in my own private practice, I do think there is a move towards anti-ageing procedures, such as the eyelid lift, that produce subtle, naturally-beautiful results, rather than a transformation that shouts to all and sundry that you’ve been ‘done’. Certainly this conservative approach has always been the basis of my own plastic surgery philosophy.

Another trend I have witnessed that chimes with BAAPS findings is that patients are doing more research. The majority of patients attending my Leamington cosmetic surgery clinic have done thorough research before they arrive for a consultation; a change that can only be encouraged and embraced by any reputable and ethical plastic surgeon.

Other conclusions that can be drawn from these figures include:

The impact of changes to the National Health Service

BAAPS figures showed that while breast augmentations still came out on top, demand had dropped by a massive 23%, but breast reduction procedures saw a rise. Previously, breast reductions were commonly performed in my NHS practice, but more and more patients are finding themselves ineligible for this procedure on the Health Service so are forced to look privately.

Cosmetic surgery versus non-surgical procedures

In previous years, there has been much media coverage of non-surgical, minimally-invasive body reshaping or fat reduction procedures. The appeal is understandable; fantastic results without the associated downtime or possible complications. However, as in life, there is no such thing as a quick fix and if something sounds too good to be true it usually is.

The internet is awash with stories of disappointing results from these non-surgical procedures, so it is perhaps unsurprising that surgical liposuction has increased in popularity last year, with a rise of 10% for women.

If you’ve done your research and are interested in exploring a particular procedure further, book a consultation at my Warwickshire private cosmetic surgery practice. All patients are given in-depth coverage of both the benefits and drawbacks and an honest opinion as to whether cosmetic surgery is right for them.

The cosmetic surgery procedures you may never have heard of: trunk reduction

Reflecting the ever increasing rise in plastic surgery in the UK, the internet has become a vast resource of information – often excellent, but sometimes misleading or sketchy. I find that many prospective patients that arrive for a consultation at my Leamington plastic surgery practice are fully conversant in the pros and cons of breast augmentations, tummy tucks and liposuction, but it can also mean that they have fixed ideas on which procedure is best for them.

I offer a range of cosmetic surgery procedures and sometimes a patient may require something less straightforward to achieve the results they are hoping for. Here I look at some of the less well-known cosmetic surgery procedures I offer.

The tummy tuck or abdominoplasty is a very popular procedure and many men and women arrive for a consultation at my Leamington cosmetic surgery practice believing that this is the procedure for them.

For some, excess skin and fat continues round onto the flanks and into the middle of the back. Unfortunately, this is a common side effect of losing a great deal of weight. The remedy is a trunk reduction.

What does this involve?

The surgical procedure involves a careful mark-up before surgery and, during surgery, includes all the essential steps for an abdominoplasty. So, the incision on the front runs horizontally across the top of the pubic area and, staying low, out onto each side. This allows access to the tummy muscles all the way up to the lower chest area so that these can be tightened up if they have weakened and spread, following pregnancy or excessive weight gain, for instance. Excess skin and fat is then removed low down and the tummy button repositioned as necessary.

With the patient on his or her tummy, I focus on the pre-marked area and make the incision from the point low on each side, continuing across the upper buttocks to meet in the mid-line low in the lumbar region of the back. Excess fat and skin are removed and the entire surgical wound is closed with dissolvable stitches. In practice, the ‘face-down’ part of the operation is generally done first.

The benefits of a trunk reduction

Most patients want smoother, tauter contours and, although they may have fixated on a particular problem area, such as their paunch, it is my responsibility to highlight areas of skin and fatty excess which will be made much more obvious on the low flanks and back if just the tummy tuck is done and to advise on the surgical procedure most likely to achieve overall satisfaction, even with the trade-off of a more extensive scar.