Coastal Empire Plastic Surgery Blog

Cosmetic Surgery Increasingly Popular Among American Men

April 13th, 2011

Recent statistics released by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) indicate that the number of American men who had cosmetic procedures in 2010 increased by 2 percent over the previous year. With over 1 million cosmetic procedures performed on men last year, this means an increase of more than 20,000 procedures. The numbers also reflect the changing priorities and perspectives of American men.

There was a decline in rhinoplasty, chemical peels, and microdermabrasion, although these procedures remain among the most popular. The most popular surgical procedure is rhinoplasty, and the most popular minimally invasive procedure is Botox.

Here are the top 10 surgical procedures that increased in popularity among men last year:

  1. Facelift (14% increase)
  2. Ear Surgery (Otoplasty) (11% increase)
  3. Soft Tissue Fillers (10% increase)
  4. Botulinum Toxin Type A (9% increase)
  5. Liposuction (7% increase)
  6. Breast Reduction (6% increase)
  7. Eyelid Surgery (4% increase)
  8. Dermabrasion (4% increase)
  9. Laser Hair Removal (4% increase)
  10. Laser Treatment of Leg Veins (4% increase)

The rising popularity of facelifts lies mostly among men in their 50s and 60s. As the baby boomer generation ages, men often find that even healthy lifestyles can’t prevent sagging neck skin. The increase of breast reduction surgery means that more men under 30 are no longer willing to be embarrassed by their large breasts.

But don’t think that the growing popularity of cosmetic surgery among men comes from celebrities and elites. Dr. Stephen Baker, an ASPS member from Washington, D.C. who is quoted in the report, says that the typical male cosmetic patient is “an average guy who wants to look as good as he feels…. Most of my patients are ‘men’s men,’ the kind of guy you might not think would have plastic surgery.”

Ethnic Groups Prefer Different Cosmetic Procedures

April 6th, 2011

The face of the American plastic surgery industry is becoming more diversified and multi-ethnic as more than one-third of Americans now identify themselves as members of minority groups, according to a recent article in the New York Times.

In ethnic enclaves like New York City, where white people have been a minority for many years, a number of niche markets are popping up, and they are getting increased attention from the Big Apple’s plastic surgeons.

From its beginnings, cosmetic surgery was often used to conceal ethnic identities in order to blend in. Many European Jews had nose jobs to look “more American” in the early 20th century. These days, however, more people are celebrating their unique heritage and specific features with more customized procedures.

People want the results of their surgeries to appeal to their cultural beliefs and take advantage of their natural lines and shapes. Women often want to emulate celebrities from their own groups, such as the wide-eyed Korean pop star Lee Hyori, or the full-breasted Mexican singer Thalía.

Standard procedures such as tummy tucks and liposuction are popular across all groups, but certain less popular procedures have become heavily favored by ethnic groups. According to the Times article, here are some of the preferences that have emerged in New York’s diverse clientele:

  • Italian women have procedures done on their knees to show off their smooth legs in miniskirts.
  • Recent Chinese immigrants accentuate their earlobes, but reduce their nostrils.
  • Latinas accentuate their natural curves with breast and buttocks implants.
  • Double-eyelid surgery, which makes the eye look rounder and more visible, is a popular procedure among Asians.
  • Chinatown Koreans often want their jaw lines slimmed.
  • Breast enlargement is very popular among Russian women in Brooklyn.

Muscle-Derived Stem Cells Could Improve Fat Grafting

March 30th, 2011

Extracting and using muscle-derived stem cells may enhance the long-term prospects of fat grafting, say the authors of a recent article in Medical Hypotheses, a journal that encourages speculations about the future of medical practice and procedures.

Fat grafting is an essential part of numerous plastic surgeries, with uses in breast reconstruction as well as breast, lips, buttocks, and facial augmentation. Transferring fat from one part of the patient’s body to another can smooth wrinkles, fill out aged hands and faces, and improve the shape of breasts and buttocks.

“Autologous fat graft… gives a natural consistency, is easy and safe to harvest, exhibits no hypersensitivity or foreign body reactions, and is readily available,” the authors write. However, there may be some long-term shortcomings of fat grafting procedures, most notably the tendency for fat cells to not survive, failing to integrate with the body.

Researchers from Harbin Medical University in northeast China argue that these side effects are caused by insufficient blood flow. Without enough blood getting to the transplanted fat cells, they may wither and die. The authors explore a strategy for dealing with this problem, which involves the use of stem cells from the muscle tissue.

According to the researchers, previous studies show that best results for fat grafting occurred when fat tissue was transplanted inside muscle – because stem cells within the muscle tissue improve the formation of new blood passages in the grafted fat. Stem cells extracted from the patient’s body could be injected into the patient’s muscle tissue, along with the fat, at the site of the graft. At the same time, the plastic surgeon would cause minor damage to the muscle tissue, activating the body’s healing process. Over time, the healing muscle would interact with the stem cells to improve the formation of new blood vessels and integrate the fat tissue into the muscle.

While this is only one small study, it could be very exciting to see further research in this direction for fat grafting procedures. You can read more about this study on Pubmed.

Fruits and Vegetables Help Relieve Post-Operative Inflammation

March 23rd, 2011

According to a recent study by a team of Brazilian researchers, there may be another reason why it’s always a good idea to eat lots of fruits and vegetables: they help to alleviate inflammation after abdominal cosmetic surgery.

Low-grade inflammation is normal after abdominal surgeries such as tummy tucks and liposuction, but has a negative overall effect on the patient’s metabolism and cardiovascular prognosis. There’s a lot of evidence to suggest that a diet high in fruits and vegetables is associated with reduced levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), which is a plasma protein that rises in the blood when the body is suffering from inflammation disorders. Elevated CRP is a standard test in medicine that can measure the extent of inflammation in a person’s body.

For the study, which was published in the journal Nutrición Hospitalaria, sixty women between the ages of 25 and 60, and with body mass indices (BMI) of 30 or over, were selected. One group was asked to consume six servings each of fruits and vegetables during the first postoperative month, while a control group continued on their regular diets. To make sure that the women stayed on their diets, researchers gave them easy and convenient recipes, and checked up on them.

Almost all patients completed the study and kept to the diet. The study revealed that CRP decreased significantly in the treated group, and that increased fruit and vegetable intake was associated with lessened inflammation. The authors say that more research is necessary to learn more about longer-term effects and benefits.

For those who are anticipating or recovering from abdominal surgery, a diet high in fruits and vegetables may be one delicious lifestyle change that will reduce inflammation, improve heart health, and bolster their bodies with vitamins and antioxidants.

Some Mastectomy Patients May Be Ill-Informed About Breast Reconstruction

March 17th, 2011

Are breast reconstruction patients making high-quality decisions about their procedures? This is the question posed by a recent article in the Journal of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, which has revealed that women treated with mastectomy were not well-informed about breast reconstruction. This is particularly serious since these patients were highly involved in making treatment decisions with their doctors.

The study was a cross-sectional survey of early-stage breast cancer survivors from four university medical centers. The survey included measures of knowledge about specific reconstruction facts, personal goals and concerns, and involvement in decision making.

Here are the survey questions, followed by the answer and the percentage of participants who answered correctly:

  1. Are women more satisfied with reconstruction at the time of the mastectomy or with delayed reconstruction? (They are equally satisfied, 33.3%)
  2. Are women more satisfied with the look and feel of breast implants or flaps? (Flaps, 15%)
  3. Does an implant use fat and tissue from other parts of the body to make a breast? (No, 13.1%)
  4. Does breast reconstruction with a flap usually require more than one surgery? (Yes, 28.6%)
  5. Which breast reconstruction surgery heals faster? (Implants, 57.1%)
  6. Roughly what percentage of women who have breast reconstruction will have a major complication, such as needing hospitalization or an unplanned procedure, within 2 years? Is it below 25, 25-50, 50-75, or more than 75? (25-50%, with only 3.6% knowing the correct answer!)
  7. How does breast reconstruction affect future screening for breast cancer? (Little to no effect, 35.7%)

A mastectomy is a life-changing experience, and reconstruction surgery offers many women a path to renewal and normality. Before taking that step, however, it’s always a good idea to ask lots of questions to make the best possible decision.

Women considering reconstruction surgery should ask their plastic surgeon about their options, and talk to others who have had similar experiences. They can also view resources from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) website, which has lots of information about breast reconstruction procedures.

In the ER, Plastic Surgeons Play An Important Role

March 8th, 2011

In the emergency room, the role of a plastic surgeon is becoming increasingly important, according to a new study out of Istanbul, Turkey. To analyze the role of plastic surgery, doctors looked back on over 10,000 patients who had been admitted for emergency plastic surgery at a single hospital. Factors such as patient age, gender and reason for treatment were evaluated.

It isn’t difficult to understand why the skills of a plastic surgeon would be valuable in the ER. Many board certified plastic surgeons today have training in complex techniques like microsurgery, wound care, hand surgery and facial reconstruction.

According to the study, these specialized techniques proved most useful in cases of injury to the head, neck, upper extremities, lower extremities and soft tissues.

Upper extremity injuries were found to be the most common indication for emergency plastic surgery, followed by head/neck injury and lower body injury. They write:

Among the 10,732 cases admitted to our emergency outpatient clinic between 2000 and 2004, upper extremity injuries were present in 64% of the patients. Twenty-five percent of the patients admitted to emergency plastic surgery clinics had head-and-neck injuries, and 37% had tissue defects of the lower extremities and trunk.

The patients, mostly young adult males, were often admitted to the ER because of an accident of some kind. Traffic accidents, burns, glassware cuts and other incidents were among the reasons.

You might assume that an American plastic surgeon working in the ER would have a slightly different focus, but according to the ASPS statistics, the most common emergency treatments look very similar. In 2010, some of the most frequently performed reconstructive surgeries included:

  • Laceration repair (355, 601 procedures)
  • Dog bite repair (32, 961 procedures)
  • Burn Care (19,369 procedures)
  • Hand surgery (105, 711 procedures)

You can read the entire study referenced here, “The practice of plastic surgery in emergency trauma surgery” through Pubmed.

National Surgery Groups Form Patient Safety Coalition

February 25th, 2011

Four widely known and respected medical specialty groups recently announced the formation of the Physicians Aesthetic Coalition—a new, interdisciplinary organization designed to champion patient education and safety in aesthetic medicine.

Organizations involved in the Coalition include the:

  • American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS)
  • American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (AAFPRS)
  • American Society of Ophthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (ASOPRS)
  • American Society for Dermatologic Surgery (ASDS)

Each organization has a long history of promoting patient education and safety initiatives, however this is the first time these groups have worked cooperatively toward the goal of helping the public get better informed about cosmetic plastic and dermatologic surgery.

Dr. Felmont Eaves, III, president of the ASAPS, cites the increasing popularity of aesthetic surgery and non-surgical cosmetic treatments, as well as the rising number of unqualified practitioners and unproven technologies in the industry, as the motivating force behind the formation of the Physicians Aesthetic Coalition.

“This is a significant patient safety issue,” said Dr. Eaves. “Through the Coalition, we can address these issues on a stronger platform than we could individually, using credible medical evidence to help patients make informed decisions.”

ASDS President Dr. Jeffery Dover also added that one of the primary objectives of the Physicians Aesthetic Coalition will be to provide patients undergoing popular surgical procedures such as blepharoplasty, liposuction and breast augmentation or new, non-surgical cosmetic treatments with reliable, unbiased educational resources.
“One of the Coalition’s founding principles is to develop educational forums for the public and media, transparent and free of commercial bias,” said Dr. Dover. “Over the next several months we will be announcing new resources to help [patients] differentiate fact from fiction.”

According to Dr. Jonathan Sykes, president of the AAFPRS, the Coalition represents the unified voices of more than 8,000 board certified physicians specializing in plastic and reconstructive surgery of the face, body, eyes and skin. And at a time when the news seems dominated by awful plastic surgery stories and gimmicks galore, prospective patients can certainly rest easier knowing that there are physicians out there who really care about their well-being, not just making a buck.

“Nothing is more important to us, both as a medical society and as individual physicians, than keeping our patients safe,” says ASOPRS President Dr. Jeffrey A. Nerad. “We are hopeful that this new Coalition will help us in achieving this end.”

Facial Plastic Surgery Stats Show Increase in Non Invasive Treatments

February 24th, 2011

Statistics about facial cosmetic treatments show that in 2010, about 75 percent of the procedures performed were non-surgical, which may confirm an often discussed trend toward non-surgical cosmetic treatments.

The stats come straight from the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (AAFPRS), and they show a 45 percent increase in the number of facial procedures performed over the last two years, representing a 16 percent annual increase in non-surgical facial procedures.

“Non-surgical procedures are an excellent option for some people, with the added benefits of lower costs and shorter recovery time; two things that are consistently important to those considering facial plastic surgery,” said Dr. Jonathan M. Sykes. “We have been seeing a trend over the past few years that people who want to look and feel younger and rejuvenated are turning to non-surgical, less invasive procedures to obtain the refreshed look they want.”

Based on the AAFPRS survey, the hot procedures of 2010 were non-surgical procedures like Botox and Restylane injections. Among surgical procedures, the most popular were rhinoplasty, facelift and eyelid surgery.

Females received the majority of facial procedures in 2010 (83 percent), but the most popular procedures varied by age. For women 35 to 60, the top surgical procedures were brow lift, facelift and eyelid surgery, while a nose job was the top surgical procedure performed on women under 35. Botox, injectable fillers nose jobs, and hair transplants were the most common facial procedures performed on men in 2010.

The AAFPRS survey also reported an increase in ethnic patients: two out of five surgeons said they had an increase in their Asian American and Hispanic patients last year.

You can read more of these survey results at

Survey of ASAPS Members Shows Preference for Traditional Lipo

February 15th, 2011

With all the discussion about new liposuction techniques, you might begin to think that every plastic surgeon is using a laser or ultrasound assisted liposuction device.

You would be wrong to assume this, according to a recent survey of plastic surgeons from the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. In fact, many members in the prestigious group say they prefer tried and true suction-assisted lipectomy, a procedure commonly called “traditional liposuction.”

A new study of current fat removal surgery trends, which is available in the Aesthetic Surgery Journal, includes a survey with 17 questions about liposuction and fat reduction in plastic surgery.

After tallying responses from over 1700 surgeons, the study authors came up with these figures:

  • 51.4 percent preferred suction assisted liposuction
  • 23 percent preferred power assisted liposuction
  • 20.9 percent preferred ultrasound assisted liposuction
  • 3.9 percent said they preferred laser assisted lipo

Non-invasive liposuction alternatives were last on the list of preferred fat removal methods, making up just 0.8 percent. Many respondents said they had no experience with laser assisted liposuction or non-invasive fat removal devices.

“Our survey found that ASAPS members tend to more frequently employ the fat removal methods that have the longest track records and the most data to support their efficacy and safety,” said lead author Jamil Ahmad, MD.

Book Explores Socioeconomics of Plastic Surgery in America

February 8th, 2011

Many have tried to explain the reasons for America’s growing interest in cosmetic surgery, positing theories that range from broad cultural trends to more personal, psychological motives.  In a new book by sociologist Laurie Essig, the author offers up yet another theory behind the nip-and-tuck movement: Reganomics.

“American Plastic: Boob Jobs, Credit Cards and Our Quest for Perfection” is an examination of the aesthetics industry that begins with a look at the socio-economic forces of the early 80s.

The author touches on topics such as capitalism, individualism, the desire for self-improvement and consumer lending – all of which, she reportedly argues, have contributed to the rise of cosmetic surgery as people seek a solution to personal economic insecurity.

“140 potential patients she spoke with claimed they were planning to go under the knife as a response to economic insecurity. Some were afraid of losing their jobs; others felt they needed to disguise their age to secure a new position” writes journalist June Thomas of Bloomberg Business Week, who recently gave the book 2.5 stars in a review.

Along with patients, Lessig spoke to surgeons from IPRAS (International Confederation for Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery) and ASAPS (American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery) during the creation of her book. You can currently read several pages of it online at

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