Article by: David Gutierrez
Originally published on: January 30, 2007
The demand for cosmetic surgery is on the rise, with a worsening obesity epidemic feeding a desire for quick-fix weight loss.
According to the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS), the use of liposuction in the U.K. increased by 90 percent in 2006. The number of cosmetic surgeries in general rose by 31 percent, to almost 29,000.
The Harley Medical Group disputes these numbers, and claims that the total number of operations was actually more than 90,000.
Liposuction is a cosmetic surgical procedure in which fat is sucked out of certain portions of the body, such as the thighs or abdomen. “It is not desperately difficult,” said Douglas McGeorge, president of BAAPS. “I could teach a four-year-old to do it. The skill comes in resculpting the body.”
McGeorge attributes the rising popularity of liposuction to increased public acceptance of the procedure. “People don’t feel as bad about having cosmetic surgery as they did. The techniques are tried and tested and the results are predictable.”
No medical procedure, however, is entirely without risk. According to a 2004 study published in “Dermatologic Surgery,” complications occur in roughly 7 out of 1,000 liposuction operations. Twenty percent of these were classified as major.
McGeorge emphasized that liposuction is not a cure for obesity. “It is not an alternative to dieting,” he said. “It works best on someone who is happy with their tummy, say, but has … thighs which you can reshape. If someone is three stone (40 pounds) overweight and wants liposuction to deal with the problem, I tell them to go away.”
“Liposuction is no solution for excess body fat,” said Mike Adams, coauthor of “Natural Appetite Suppressants for Safe, Effective Weight Loss.”
“If the fat is removed in some areas of the body, it will simply continue to be accumulated in other areas. The key is not to surgically remove body fat, but rather adopt healthful lifestyles that burn body fat and keep the body’s metabolism in balance,” Adams said.
The yearly market for cosmetic surgery in the United States is estimated at $15 billion.