Breast augmentation is the top cosmetic surgical procedure, Botox the most popular minimally invasive procedure
Weight loss-related plastic surgeries grew at their fastest rate in four years
Americans spent $12.9 billion on cosmetic procedures; plastic surgery is rarely covered by insurance
Dr. Scot Glasberg, an award-winning New York plastic surgeon, is seeing more of a particular kind of patient these days: people who want to look better after losing a massive amount of weight.
“Ten years ago I was doing two to four of these kinds of surgeries a year,” Glasberg said. “Now I’m doing about 50 to 70 a year. That’s about one to two of these a week – that’s a big shift.”
Glasberg, who is also the president of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, says that trend of more body contouring kinds of surgeries is playing out across the country. The statistics for 2014, reported by ASPS on Monday, bear him out.
Breast augmentation is still the No. 1 surgical procedure done in the U.S., although at 286,254 procedures last year, that number is down 1% from 2013. The most performed minimally invasive procedure is Botox injections. More than 6.6 million people got Botox or Dysport, of whom 410,913 were men. Overall, Americans spent about $12.9 billion on cosmetic procedures last year, according to the ASPS report – about a 2% increase over the previous year.
The number of people seeking out thigh lifts, breast and upper arm lifts and tummy tucks grew at their fastest rate in four years, according to the report.
People can have body contouring types of surgeries after losing a lot of weight through diet and exercise. But the upward trend of plastic surgeries coincides with a similar growth in the number of weight loss surgeries in the U.S. In 2013, 179,000 Americans went under the knife for weight loss. That breaks down to nearly 500 procedures every day, according to the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery.
The kind of plastic surgery that complements weight loss surgery has both a practical and a psychological benefit. It’s practical in large part because people who lose a large amount of weight often end up with an excess amount of skin, sometimes several pounds’ worth.
“There is so much excess skin that the layers tend to rub up against each other and a person can develop a rash or an infection,” Glasberg said. “Patients tell me they are almost as uncomfortable with this problem as they were when they were overweight.”
Typically, unless there is an infection, the surgery is considered elective. Often insurance won’t cover it, and it can be expensive, but excessive skin can be a real problem.
“Once these patients are done, they are some of the happiest patients I have,” Glasberg said. “They feel better, they look better and they end up with a healthier body image. This surgery brings with it a tremendous life benefit.”