Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Embracing the Scalpel and Shunning the Weights: The Modern Woman’s Makeover

Why sweat the postpartum chub and flab away when you can have it excised, sucked, trimmed, tucked, and recontoured? Gravity got you down these days? Or, have you just had it up to your “barely there” bust (by society’s standards) and have finally sought out that skilled surgeon who will grant you the voluptuous proportions you have been pining after?

Statistics released by the American Society for Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) verify that cosmetic plastic surgery is on the up and up among US women aged 20 to 39 years. In 2006, more than 325,000 tummy tuck, breast augmentation, and breast lift procedures were performed on women in this age demographic, which represents an alarming 11% increase from 2005. Compared with the growth of overall cosmetic plastic surgery procedures, the increase in these so-called “Mommy Makeover” cosmetic surgeries (ie, breast augmentation, tummy tuck, and breast lift) are a whopping 5 times higher for the same time interval.1

Rip up that check you wrote to your local gym. Fire your personal trainer. Burn your Lycra shorts, sports bra, and running sneaks. Forgo that South Beach diet you were barely sticking with. Skip the stairs and stick with the elevator (why moisten up your suit and ruin your coif?) Sit back, relax, and indulge on that super-sized soft drink, hamburger, and fries you guiltily picked up on the ride home from your 1-mile away office. With a few swipes of your credit card you too can have movie star abs and confidently don that sexy halter top you bought before you were pregnant.

According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons President, Roxanne Guy, MD, nowadays, women are having children later yet returning to their careers earlier, and are simultaneously juggling busy schedules. She added that many women “are finding cosmetic plastic surgery to be the answer to returning to a pre-pregnancy shape they are comfortable with.”1 Hmmm. I wonder how many of these women had double-sized Ds and washboard abs before they were pregnant? And, how many women can honestly say that they exhausted all natural routes to shedding the “baby fat” before opting for more invasive and risky approach to weight loss and body contouring?

In 2006, 95,500 breast augmentations were performed on women in their 20s compared with 118,500 among the “30-something” category. The number of breast lifts and tummy tucks were also higher in the older age group.1 Now more than ever, women are opting for cosmetic plastic surgery and while I do not completely oppose this approach, I believe it should be recommended, performed, and considered more judiciously, both by clinicians and surgeons and patients. “Mommy makeovers” bring to mind a fully automated society where all we have to do is swipe a card, push a button, and exert minimal energy to get a desired result. There is something to be said for working hard, working up a sweat, and quite frankly, not adhering to society’s or television’s beauty standards. When everyone is walking around with cookie-cutter noses, breasts, abs, and rears, among other body parts, who will stand out? I’ll tell you: the lady behind this blog that has a little bit of sag, an average-sized chest, a few grey hairs, a little stomach bulge, no credit card debt, a fairly healthy body and mind, who happens to do things the old-fashioned way: through blood, sweat, and tears.

1. News from the ASPS: cosmetic plastic surgery “mommy makeovers” on the rise: results revealed in ASPS procedural statistics report. American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Medem, Inc. April 10, 2007. Available at: http://www.medem.com/medlb/article_detaillb.cfm?article_ID=ZZZTY00IF0F&sub_cat=0. Accessed April 2007.

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