As people head to the beach with their bathing suits, or eye hot summer fashions that include hip-hugging pants and tight tops, many are also eyeing ways to improve the way they look. For many women and men, the mid-section is one of the most common trouble spots.
Strategies include diet and exercise, and increasingly, a visit to the plastic surgeon. In fact, liposuction is the most common cosmetic surgical procedure, with almost 373,000 lipoplasties performed in 2002, according to the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons. Abdominoplasty, or tummy tuck, another procedure to improve the abdomen, registered the highest increase of all cosmetic surgical procedures in 2002, up 17 percent compared to the previous year.
Dr. Lyle S. Leipziger, Chief of Plastic Surgery at North Shore University Hospital and Long Island Jewish Medical Center, has seen an increase in the number of patients coming in for both procedures, but many patients are unsure which one is most appropriate before their consultation.
"Liposuction is a body contouring technique. It can tackle problem areas of fat that even a strict diet and exercise will not reduce," he says. "The procedure works best on patients with good skin tone overall."
Liposuction is not a method for overall weight reduction. Generally, the best candidate is no more than 15 percent over his or her ideal body weight. Although liposuction can achieve excellent results, it does not mean people will not gain weight in the future if they overeat and fail to exercise, Dr. Leipziger notes. Before his patients undergo the procedure, he advises them to make a commitment to a healthier lifestyle.
A tummy tuck is more appropriate for women and men who have excess or sagging abdominal skin, and fat that is concentrated in the abdomen. Some women and men are prone to retain fat in this area or have a protruding abdomen, and a tummy tuck is one way to flatten their
stomach and make it firmer.
Losing a great deal of weight or having a baby can cause abdominal skin to become flaccid. A tummy tuck can also tighten muscles that have been weakened by pregnancy.
"A tummy tuck can make a dramatic difference in one's appearance," Dr. Leipziger said. However, anyone who is planning on losing a great deal of weight or becoming pregnant may want to wait, he added.
Anyone considering a tummy tuck, liposuction or any cosmetic surgery should always look for a physician who is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and affiliated with a major teaching hospital, Dr. Leipziger says.
People may be able to find a doctor based on recommendations from friends who have had cosmetic surgery or from a family doctor. Once they find a plastic surgeon, they should feel comfortable with the doctor and make sure he or she is willing to take the time to answer all of
"A comprehensive consultation will review the benefits and risks of the procedure for the individual patient," Dr. Leipziger says. It is a good idea to ask the doctor how many times he has performed liposuction or tummy tuck and how long it takes to recuperate. Typically, people can return to normal activities within a few days of having liposuction and within a few weeks of having a tummy tuck. It takes a little longer before they can resume exercise.
For more information or to schedule a consultation with Dr. Leipziger on liposuction, tummy tuck or another type of cosmetic procedure, please call 516-465-8787.